I retired from work in October 2014. As I had, for the majority of my working life, held a variety of jobs in health and supported housing; I knew that I needed to do something that had a practical value in my retirement.
I have always had a tremendous respect for the hospice movement in general and for St Richard’s Hospice in particular, so it was not difficult for me to make a choice about where I would like to volunteer.
When I applied and was accepted to become a volunteer there was lots of information, through an induction course, an open evening and discussions with the Volunteer Co-ordinator so that all prospective volunteers can take a look at the considerable range of volunteering opportunities available at St Richard’s and find the best match.
I expressed an interest in working in the Inpatient Unit (IPU) at the Hospice and began volunteering there in November 2014. What struck me immediately was the warm welcome from all members of staff and the total lack of “ego” that existed. It didn’t matter if you were a consultant, a doctor, a nurse or any other member of the team of people who make the place “tick”…….everyone’s contribution is valued and there is no hierarchy.
The role of a volunteer in the IPU is a varied one. Tasks can vary from administrative (photocopying, answering the phone and preparing paperwork for new admissions), to delivering post to patients and reading their correspondence for them if asked, to loading the dishwasher or simply making a cup of tea for a patient, one of their visitors or a member of staff.
When I was at work the main aim of my employer was to “Make a Difference” to the lives of its customers and I hope that, even in a very small way, my volunteering at St Richard’s makes a difference to the patients and staff that I come into contact with. From a personal point of view, I have found volunteering at St Richard’s Hospice to be a very rewarding experience and I am certain it has had a really positive effect on my adjustment to retirement.