Is Volunteering in a Nursing Home Right for Me?
Are you looking for a faster way to get into those nurse scrubs? A recent Government report proposes that trainee nurses begin training as healthcare assistants to help improve patient care. Whether you want to become a nurse, doctor or healthcare professional volunteering in the residential care sector can help you improve your caring side, decide if this is the right career for you and help your CV stand out against a fierce amount of competition.
How to Find a Volunteer Opportunity
No matter where you live in the UK there will be voluntary care opportunities nearby. If you have a choice of residential care homes in your area research their services and facilities online before getting in touch. Try to focus on something you are really interested in learning more about, for example, Alzheimer’s or dementia care. You may even want to consider volunteering at a hospice which will require a more personal relationship with families. However, it should be noted this is an option for volunteers who are mentally ready for the challenge of supporting people nearing the end of their life.
Once you have identified a few residential care homes give them a call and ask to speak to their volunteer co-ordinator. Don’t just assume that because you are offering your time for free that a care home will accept you. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself and your motivations for wanting to work with older people.
Interviewing for a Volunteer Position
Think about an interview for a voluntary position in the same way as you would for a paid position. Making a good first impression is important so go to your interview smartly dressed and with a positive attitude. Before you attend your interview think about the reasons why working with older people is something that is important to you personally and not just as a way to boost your career. For example, talking about building your caring and communication skills in order to help you show empathy towards patients when you qualify.
Some student doctors also feel it is beneficial to experience healthcare outside of a hospital or GP surgery environment. Understanding the type of care residents receive and the relationships they have with volunteers and carers can be a valuable life lesson for aspiring healthcare professionals.