Sophie, Reception/Admin Support
My name is Sophie and I originally started volunteering at NCH&C in 2018. My first volunteer role was admin support for the community neurology team. I would call patients to remind them of their appointments, which helped reduce DNA’s. I also kept all brochures and leaflets up to date, equipment stocked up, and ordered anything that the team needed.
When covid began volunteering stopped, but gradually throughout 2020 some volunteering options started to become available again. I was then able to start a meet & greet role at St James reception as the clinics started to operate again. This involved booking patients in but also ensured patients were wearing masks, had sanitized their hands, practised social distancing, and took time to explain how the clinics were operating during covid.
Why did you want to volunteer?
I originally wanted to volunteer to add some extra experience to my CV. I had been working for the same retail company for over 10 years, and even though I had gained lots of skill and opportunities within my role I had also seen the company go through bouts of store closures, restructuring, and administration so I knew that I needed to start gaining experience for the future if I were to lose my job.
I still loved my job in retail, so I knew I wasn’t ready to leave it for another job, this is where volunteering fitted in perfectly, as I could continue with my old job but gain experience elsewhere. I already had good IT and organisational skills, but I was worried that it wouldn’t come across in my CV, which is why I started looking for volunteer admin opportunities.
What difference do you feel your volunteering makes, to patients, staff and yourself?
Volunteering makes such a difference to everyone involved. When I started volunteering for the community neurology service, I was naïve in thinking that they would have one specific admin person who just concentrated on that one service. The admin person in question looks after three specialist service teams within the trust, so knowing that I was helping her by taking on more of the time-consuming jobs, which in turn helped the clinicians was rewarding. Also, with patients we could spend a little extra time talking to them, reminding them of their appt times and making them feel at ease which was beneficial to both them and the team.
I’ve had such a good opportunity with volunteering to not only gain the extra experience which I had initially hoped for, but to also build relationships within the trust and other volunteers.
Is there a memorable moment as a volunteer that stands out to you?
What does stand out is the difference me and another volunteer would make by phoning neurology patients weekly to remind them of their upcoming appointments. The patients and carers we would call would be so grateful for the reminder as often their appointments were made 6 months previously, the patients appreciated how valuable the neuro nurses time was so would have been devastated to have missed the appointment. It was lovely to have the time to chat to their patients, and many appreciated just having someone to talk too. It really felt like we made a difference for both the patients and the nurses within the service.
Has your volunteering led to anything else?
I was made redundant from my retail job during the first covid lockdown but was able to find bank administration work at the local hospital. A permanent job then became available at NCH&C for admin support/receptionist, and I am pleased to say I have been working in that post for the past year. Volunteering for NCH&C helped with my application and interview, as I already knew how the clinics operated and had an insight into the trust and its values.