Warrington and Halton Hospitals

My volunteering story: Iram Sheikh

Volunteers like Iram make a huge difference here at Warrington Hospital. Here is her story so far...

Whenever I have been to the hospital to either visit someone or for an appointment, it has always inspired me to get involved and help out where I can. Hospitals are not the most pleasant of places so it is important to make those visiting/patients feel as comfortable as possible. Those who work at the hospital are clearly busy and usually only have the time to provide the necessary medical care. Because of this, I thought that there must be situations where I could be of assistance.

I started my volunteering at CCU where I would go and chat to patients and help the staff wherever they needed me to. Sometimes I would be asked to distribute/collect menu cards and help some patients if they needed help filling it out. Other times I would sit and keep an eye on some patients if staff were busy, usually keeping them occupied by talking to them.

I like talking to people anyway; in my opinion it helps the patients and relatives forget about being in hospital. Talking to them about their interests and making them laugh makes it all worth it for me and that I can help them to forget about their troubles for a short time. They appreciate that I spend time with them. Sometimes they say it otherwise I can tell from their eyes or them holding my hand.

I then started volunteering at wards A3 and A5 doing the same thing as previously but then I would sometimes make drinks too. I would also go to the dementia ward, sitting with patients, listening to them, asking them questions about themselves or we'd discuss any topics they seemed interested in. I felt as though it gave them the feeling of being "important" or "useful" again.

I have been nearly everywhere in the hospital to help patients fill out the "Patient Dignity and Privacy" form. I would sit with each patient and for some, would fill it out for them. I would chat to the patients about why they are here, how they got here, how they spend their time, what they miss most while they are in hospital...etc. Most of the patients seemed to really enjoy speaking to me about themselves, which made it all worthwhile.

I have also volunteered in the Accident and Emergency Department. My tasks there included preparing and serving the drinks trolley for patients/relatives. The doctors and nurses are too busy to stop and take a break so if I could see that they could do with a minute, I'd make them a tea or coffee. I would also distribute/collect the forms about patients experience at the department and how it could be improved.

I was then offered a "Courtesy caller" role, where I was provided with a list of patients' names with the date of their upcoming appointment and their contact details. I rang each patient and confirmed that they were able to attend the allocated appointment. I advised that if they had any sort of issue with the appointment to ring the corresponding department.

From my volunteering journey I have learnt so much. It has given me the confidence and the ability to work with different people, learning from their experience which has broadened my horizons. It has given me satisfaction at the end of the day because it means that every day I go home having helped at least one person. It is difficult for patients and their relatives to be in hospital and they are currently going through a tough time, so if I can take their mind off the situation for even a short while, or help them with something, that is more than enough for me; sometimes just showing someone which way to go if they are unsure, will be enough to make me feel appreciated and satisfied.

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