Spinal Injury Ward Helper

Life on a ward is busy to say the least and as much as doctors deserve appreciation, the nurses, cleaners and health care assistances deserve just as much. I volunteer as a ward helper on a spinal injury ward (since September of 2014). Henceforth it has transpired upon me that everyone certainly does play a part to keep the system working, whether that be by administering drugs or giving a patient a shower, and are all part of the caring process no matter how simple the job. My roles, though straight forward, include:

  • making beds/washing up cups
  • collecting drugs from the pharmacy
  • settling new patients in e.g. Giving water jugs, writing their name and consultant on the board, etc
  • refilling glove and apron boxes
  • wiping lockers
  • lay tables, set up trolleys
  • communicating – talk to patients
  • shop for newspapers or anything that the patient may want

Since my shift goes over lunch also, I have other duties such as:

  • giving out brews
  • filling in food and water intake charts
  • receive information relating to patients drinks restrictions/special diets/nil by mouth (usually going in for surgery)
  • help with drinks and meals e.g. opening packets, removing lids, ensuring food is within reach, assisting with cutting food into manageable sized (especially important since on a spinal injury ward it is increasingly difficult to move)
  • providing encouragement and companionship to patients during meal times

When first reading the jobs I needed to undertake on the ward I didn’t think that I would be of that much help but I was very wrong indeed. Keeping track and offering patients drinks may seem straight forward but since there are so many daily jobs to be completed on the ward, it is very unlikely that the patients will be offered drinks hence many become dehydrated without realising and of course on a spinal injury ward, the patients can be very restricted to moving so cannot get themselves brews or water. Moreover since I work at a district general hospital, there are days which are very quiet and in some respects lonely, there have been countless of patients of all ages on my ward who appreciate small talk so much. Some are so enthusiastic that they show me pictures of their holidays or jump at every opportunity to talk to me and I love to be seen as approachable because it is exactly what I would need if I was in their place. Communication and companionship are just as much therapy as drugs are in my opinion. Being open and friendly is key as a volunteer because being admitted to hospital is not a highlight, it is a constant reminder that you are ill therefore it is essential that the patients are fully content and comfortable. A few weeks ago on my shift, a patients said to me that they in fact did not want to leave! Which made me happy to see that they were so satisfied with the friendliness and home-like feeling displayed from the wards and nurses.

Occasionally when I have some free time on the ward, the nurses are more than willing to let me watch them take bloods, administer drugs or watch a diagnosis, etc… hence it is both a learning experience for me on a social level and on understanding medical procedures on a typical ward day. I will be sure to keep you up to date with my ward experiences!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *