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Returning to ward helper volunteering — Lexie’s story

Lexie Urquhart has been volunteering on our Inpatient Ward since 2018 and here she tells us more about why she became a Ward Helper and how she has found returning to her role again.

Many of our wonderful Ward Helper volunteers have recently returned to volunteering or are in the process of coming back.

Lexie Urquhart has been volunteering on our Inpatient Ward since 2018 and here she tells us more about coming back to volunteer again:

How did you get into volunteering at St Oswald’s?

I wanted to help out and to make a difference so I began volunteering as a Ward Helper in February 2018. I also have hopes of studying post graduate entry Medicine after I complete my Biomedical Science degree and I know the experience I have gained whilst being at St Oswald’s will support me with my application.

What do you like the most about being a ward helper volunteer?

The sense of fulfilment I feel at the end of a shift is second to none. To know that the little time out of my day I give to volunteering has not only helped the patients, but also the family members, is a feeling I will never take for granted.

What I also enjoy about volunteering is how you get to see, first hand, how the Hospice has had a positive impact of people’s lives – whether that’s the patients feeling cared for and happy, or family and friends who know their loved one is being looked after to a high standard. I love working with all the staff as well.

What were your expectations before your first shift back?

I expected to have to wear more PPE than previously, and that wasn’t an issue at all. I had no fears or worries per se, however I did have concerns about wearing the face mask because I know how a smile can impact somebody's behaviour and how important it is to the volunteering role. However, after the first shift back, this was not a concern anymore.

Did the Hospice feel different in any way?

The Hospice did feel different for the first couple of shifts as some of the normal routine was changed slightly. This included correctly donning and doffing PPE before you enter a new room, entering the ward differently and being more cautious about cleaning. However, this only took a few shifts to get used to and feels quite normal now.

Have you felt supported by the staff at St Oswald’s Hospice?

I have felt very well supported by everyone at St Oswald’s, whether that’s the reception team, the nurses, other volunteers, the kitchen staff and everybody in the offices and the volunteer coordination team who have made it very easy to come back as a volunteer.

What would you say to ward helpers who are resuming their role now? Any advice?

I would say that you are all doing an amazing job, and giving up your time not only to volunteer, but also in the middle of a global pandemic is no small thing and you should all be so proud of yourselves!

A huge thank you to Lexie for her commitment, kindness and hard work.