Volunteers' Week spotlight: Nicola

07 June 2019

Volunteers' Week spotlight: Nicola
Nicola has been the Volunteering Manager at Charing Cross Hospital since July 2017. In our final Volunteers’ Week 2019 blog she talks about some of the changes she’s seen and offers her advice for those thinking about volunteering with the charity.
What have been the highlights of the role?

Since starting in this role, we have welcomed 107 new volunteers into roles across Charing Cross Hospital, supporting a wide variety of teams. We have introduced volunteers into many areas where they had not been involved before and it is great to hear about the real difference these volunteers are now making to our patients. It has also been a real privilege to support our Youth Volunteering Programme and meet some of the incredible young people who have given up their time to support patients during the school holidays and after lessons.

What advice would you give someone who is looking to volunteer?

I would advise anyone considering a volunteer role in our hospitals to have a good think about what kind of role they want to do and what they are hoping to gain from their experience. Going into a hospital ward can be challenging and it isn’t going to suit everyone, but we have a variety of other roles on offer too! We have developed several roles that are in non-clinical areas of the hospital including Hospital Welcome Volunteers and Shop based roles. Our Charity Champion role offers the opportunity to support Imperial Health Charity with fundraising events throughout the year and we also support office volunteers who support the work at Charity HQ!

What benefits do you get by volunteering for Imperial Health Charity?

Many of our previous volunteers have gained transferable skills allowing them to gain paid employment within the healthcare sector. Volunteers can enhance their communication and interpersonal skills as well as building their confidence.  It is also a great way to meet like-minded people, and we have a number of social events throughout the year where you can meet staff and volunteers in other roles from all of our hospitals.

What do you think is the main difference volunteers make within the hospital?

Volunteers make a huge difference to patients and staff in all of our hospitals. Patients and visitors often feel more comfortable approaching and talking to a volunteer and they often just want a friendly ear to listen to them. We know that loneliness can be an issue for patients staying overnight in hospital, as some don’t get visitors. Our volunteers sit and talk with patients during meal times, play games as part of rehabilitation and some volunteers keep patients’ company while they receive treatment, making sure they have everything they need to make them as comfortable as possible.

It never ceases to amaze me how many patient interactions our volunteers record after their shifts, over the last year this figure has reached over 117,000. This just goes to show how valuable having volunteers in the hospital is to the experience of our patients and I am so proud of the work that volunteers do to help our hospitals. 

To find out more about the charity's volunteering programme, click here.