Following a period of ill health in 2008, including a stay in the Old Victoria Hospital, I had to close down my cat sitting business to aid my recovery. In March 2010 I started as a volunteer in the Patient Information Centre (PIC) at the New Victoria Hospital, a post I am still in today.
My volunteering role gave me back some structure in my week, working on Wednesdays for a 4 hour shift, and with a background in Biology, I was able to man the information table in the atrium and help patients, staff and others in their search for relevant information regarding health improvement issues.
I thoroughly enjoy the interaction I have with people in the atrium and I think people, especially patients, welcome a smiling face and chat as they pass through the hospital. I combine this role in the New Victoria with my role as a British Heart Foundation Scotland volunteer –the latter involves fundraising and awareness raising.
I have developed a good working relationship with staff and volunteers in the PIC and often visit clinics and wards in the hospital to distribute relevant information.
My role is supported by training and development away days and I feel I have gained useful communication and work-related experience and hope that in the near future I may be able to put my skills to use in the wider workplace. I can highly recommend a volunteer role within the PICs for anyone who is interested in making good use of their spare time.