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Student Volunteer Week - Meet Janina

"It's such a rewarding experience when you are able to give back and help others"

To continue our Student Volunteer Week celebrations, today we meet Janina who has been a Patient Support Volunteer since last August.

This is a relatively new but crucial role on our Inpatient Ward, providing companionship and support to patients and their families.

Janina tells us more:

How is your experience of volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice ongoing? 

My first few months of volunteering were mainly focused on my training and I would shadow other Patient Support Volunteers to get a feel of what my role would be like. Once I felt confident enough to do it on my own, I began volunteering on the Inpatient Ward and I'm enjoying every second of it! I get the opportunity to chat to patients and distract them and that's been really rewarding. I get the opportunity to meet so many different, wonderful people and because my role is so patient centered, I have found that no shift is the same - and I really love this!

What do you enjoy about being a volunteer?

It is such a satisfying and rewarding experience when you are able to give back and help others within your community. I get to meet and chat to so many different people from various backgrounds about their experiences and lives and I have also made new bonds and friendships with other volunteers. 

Why did you become a volunteer at St Oswald’s Hospice?

The global pandemic has definitely been an eye opener to me about how important it is to give back to the community and support and help where you can. I, myself, have had times during lockdown where I wished I could chat to someone or have a companion; so being able to be that companion to someone else is so valuable and I just really want to help wherever I can. 

How have you found volunteering during COVID-19? Have you felt safe and supported? 

Definitely! There has always been excellent communication between the Hospice staff and volunteers – we get regular updates about the situation on the Ward. We also have monthly meetings where we talk about our experiences and get the opportunity to raise any concerns we might have. I have never felt isolated or unsupported whilst volunteering for St Oswald’s Hospice.

What are the benefits of being a volunteer whilst being a student – do you think the experience will help you in the future?  

Definitely! Volunteering has helped me to develop several attributes such as communication and interpersonal skills, confidence, and the ability to better manage my time. All of these skills will help me in the long run, especially when it becomes time to apply for university or a job!

Would you recommend volunteering to other students?

100%! It might seem scary at first, but you will be supported throughout your whole journey. It is so rewarding and heartwarming to feel like you are positively contributing to other people’s lives and making a change! 

Huge thanks to Janina for volunteering her time whilst juggling being a student.

If you’re a student and have just a few hours to spare each week and are interested in volunteering as a way to boost your CV, develop skills, make friends, gently dip your toes into the world of work, grow in confidence, contribute to your local community and support your mental health, we have a number of volunteering roles at the Hospice based in Gosforth (age 16+) and our charity shops right across the region (age 14+). Find out more here www.stoswaldsuk.org/volunteering.