Christina is one of our younger volunteers. As a 17 year-old she is just the right age to be one of the Young Clinical Volunteers (YCV) at St Wilfrid’s. Currently studying for her A Levels at college, Christina is part way through her six month programme, working towards the St Wilfrid’s Hospice YCV Certificate. I met up with her recently so she could tell me more about the sort of things she does.

‘The YCV role is slightly different to some of the other volunteer roles in the hospice. I do the sort of things that Health Care Assistants (HCA) do. I help out with the patients, bringing them food, making drinks, helping them with cleaning and feeding if needed. I also help patients get ready for bed. My shift is from 4pm to 8pm and I work every Wednesday. When you start you can choose which evening shift you can do.’

You spend a lot of time with patients; what sort of training have you had?

‘After the initial training it’s online e-learning mainly; areas such as safeguarding for adults and confidentiality. We learn a lot on-the-job and when I started I always had a nurse with me. You get assigned to a mentor as well so you’re never really on your own.’

Why did you want to take part in this programme?

‘Well I wanted to try something new. I have been thinking about studying to be a doctor and I thought doing the YCV role might help with my university applications. A friend of mine’s mum is a nurse and she showed me the link on the website and I took the opportunity to follow it on from there.’

What sort of things have you learned whilst volunteering?

‘I’ve learned how to do blood tests; I never knew how to do that before. I’ve also got so much more awareness of patients, their needs, and what the nurses actually do. At school, in Ethics, we learned about hospices but not in detail. Many young people, like me, have no idea about what happens in a hospice.

‘At first I didn’t understand just how much nurses and HCAs do for their patients. I thought it was just a place where nurses help poorly patients, but they care so much more for patients than nurses in hospitals are able to do. It’s so lovely to be in this environment.

And what’s the best thing you’ve experienced?

‘When you can make a patient smile - that’s the nicest feeling you can have. It brings a warmth to your heart.’

What would you say to other young people who aren’t sure if this is something they could do?

‘Go for it; take the opportunity while you can. I’ve got friends now who ask me about what I’m doing and some are really interested in getting involved. I would recommend volunteering here to anyone.’

In addition to the YCV roles there are hundreds of jobs which need doing within the work of the charity, and they may not all be obvious. Why not visit the Volunteer pages on this site or contact the Voluntary Services team at [email protected] and see what opportunities await you.