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Why I volunteer: “To help me train as a nurse”

Author: Nathan Harrison
19 June 2017

Nathan Harrison began volunteering at Bolton Hospice to honour his grandmother’s memory. Here he tells us how the hospice’s training programmes are helping him on his path to becoming a nurse.

My name is Nathan and I am 17. I volunteer on the inpatient ward, I am also a nursing cadet for Bolton NHS and I study the cadet programme at Bolton College.

I volunteer from 6 to 8pm on a Thursday evening. I study in college three days a week doing health and social care, and then I spend two days on a placement at the hospital.

I decided to become a Bolton Hospice volunteer because my nan was a day patient in 2008. I wanted to give something back in memory of her. She was a big supporter of the hospice and ever since she came here she was really thankful for how they helped her during her illness. She passed away in 2015 and then a year later I started volunteering.

I think some people can have negative connotations of hospices, that they are kind of doom and gloom. But they are really happy places. I remember being on the ward with one family and it was the patient’s birthday, and everyone decided to throw a massive party for him. It is just the special things like that, that make the difference for people.

The thing I enjoy the most about volunteering is talking to patients and getting to know their stories.  Another highlight for me are the training opportunities I receive. The education team at Bolton Hospice have been really helpful, and I have been on a few courses about  spiritual care and communications that have helped me gain skills I have been able to apply to my work placement and to volunteering on the ward.

The volunteering hours I get from my role here are contributing towards a V100 award too, that is a certificate I receive for dedicating my time to volunteering, and will be a great thing to have on my CV for my future career.

I also invited staff from the hospice in to my college to give a talk to the nursing cadets about hospice services. That was something the college and I were really grateful for, because it challenged the stereotypes my classmates had, who are all going in to the healthcare profession. People were really surprised about what the hospice does, they did not know about their whole range of services and now they have a better understanding of what they  can provide their future patients.  

I am hoping to go into nursing, and the nurses here were the first people I met in the profession. They have really inspired me because they are all so caring and loving, they are role models for me.

If anyone is thinking about volunteering for the hospice – do it! It is a really good experience, you will be able to get a lot from it and it develops you as a person. It feels like you are giving something back to the community and I know I am doing something worthwhile.

I love volunteering at Bolton Hospice. I have always felt like I was doing something for my nan and that is what felt good for me because I know if she was still alive today, she would be so proud of me.

For more information visit Bolton Hospice

See more articles in Community engagement

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