National Volunteers’ Week, which runs from 1 – 7 June, is a chance to recognise the invaluable contributions of people across all sectors who offer up their time to volunteer across Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH).
There are just over 1,500 volunteers who freely give their time and skills to volunteer across NUH. Covering over 150 different roles, volunteers support patients, visitors, and staff by helping out as meet and greet volunteers, generic ward/mealtime assistants, patient and public involvement representatives, tram volunteers, and more.
Emma Donaldson is one of our friendly meet and greet volunteers based at City Hospital Outpatients. She is celebrating five years long service to NUH in 2019.
Emma said: “I’ve always wanted to do something at the hospital, but obviously due to my disability it was very hard to find something. I’ve always as well, during work years, helped people in one way or another so I wanted to continue this. My mum works at NUH and said about maybe working as a volunteer meet and greeter so -here I am!”
“Having spent many a time at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) and City, I could see that it was somewhere that I would be comfortable volunteering.”
NUH currently has 122 meet and greet volunteers, aged between and 90 years-of-age, based in nine entrance locations across its Hospitals. They offer a friendly welcoming point of initial contact and help for patients and visitors.
Speaking about her first day volunteering at NUH, Emma said: “I remember being so nervous! I knew part of the hospital already - before I started my partner and I came to get a feel of the place beforehand. At the same time, I was really excited to start!
“I’m a Meet and Greeter at Main Outpatients, based at City Hospital. This requires a lot of patience – I go and collect prescriptions, I take patients to wherever they need to be, I help out and do errands for the nurses in different clinics. I also guide patients to where they need to be!”
Emma was also asked what she enjoys about her role: “I love helping people to the best of my abilities, I love knowing that if the patients are poorly, just taking them to where they need to be has maybe made their day that little bit better and a little less stressful.”
Emma added: “Every day is a different day, something different always happens. I love the people that I work with and no day is the same. I like to think that I’ve made somebody’s ‘not very nice’ day into a better day – just by having a smile on my face and taking them to wherever they need to be.”
“Just because you’re disabled and in a wheelchair doesn’t mean that you can’t do something and volunteer.”
Kerry Harper, Voluntary Services Manager, who has worked at the Trust for 20 years, said: “Emma has faced a lot of adversity within her life and yet she still gives her time freely with a welcome smile and kind words to all our patients and staff. We are proud to have Emma as a volunteer; she truly is an inspiration for others to follow.”