Volunteers’ dedication and commitment are keys to our success in providing outstanding patient experiences for families at BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.
|Length of volunteering:||2010 – 2013|
|Volunteer roles:||Navigation & Wayfinding and Child Life, Junior Auxiliary Committee|
|Current occupation:||Registered nurse at BC Women’s Hospital|
I have always loved kids and working with them. I started babysitting at a young age and then working as a nanny and camp counselor as I got older. I was also interested in health care and thought that volunteering at the hospital would give me a good introduction and some exposure to the environment.
I loved my volunteer experience at BC Women’s and BC Children’s! In fact, I was sad when I had to stop volunteering but it was too difficult to continue once I graduated and was working as a registered nurse. In addition to my role as a volunteer, I was also a member of the Junior Auxiliary Committee (JAC) and really enjoyed having a more proactive role with some projects and fundraisers.
Once I started volunteering in the Child Life department, many nurses soon noticed I was good with the babies. I had a lot of experience with young babies and was able to soothe them easily. Soon, I started noticing that whenever I came onto the units the nurses would right away point out any babies that were alone and in need of some cuddles. I cherished the opportunities I had to sit with babies and peacefully rock them to sleep. In those moments, even though they were sick and possibly with little IVs or other tubes attached, I felt like I was giving them a safe little shelter and love.
One of my most memorable experiences was actually from one of our JAC fundraisers. We were holding a lottery and trying to sell tickets. At the time, there was a local radio station that used to feature local small businesses or charities every Thursday morning on their show. I contacted the radio station and they were happy to feature our fundraiser and I ended up being on the radio for about a minute describing the event. It felt like I was really getting the word out there and making a great contribution to our cause.
My volunteer experience definitely helped and influenced my career goals. I knew that I liked kids and was interested in health care, but working as a volunteer also showed me the different roles within the hospital. I am the first nurse in my family and I think part of that has to do with the time I spent watching the nurses and learning more about their role in patient care. Lastly, even though I loved kids, the experience also showed me that I gravitated toward babies and influenced my decision to become a nurse at BC Women’s and not BC Children’s.
Looking back, I feel grateful that PHSA offered me the opportunity to embark on a progressive journey going from navigation volunteer to a Child Life volunteer and then to a registered nurse. I felt like I was already strongly connected to the hospital and the organization even before I started working here. Going through the halls on my first day as a nurse felt comforting and familiar, like I was meant to be there.
I know that many people, especially young students, use volunteer experience as a resume builder or for course requirements. There are numerous ways our hospital, both BC Women’s and BC Children’s, serve our patients and when you're a volunteer you get more exposure to different clinic areas. Initially, when I first started I was disappointed I had to work at the navigation station and not in Child Life. However, once I started I actually enjoyed having so much knowledge about the hospital and when I eventually became a Child Life volunteer I continued at the navigation station because I liked being able to have various roles. Therefore, my biggest advice would be to encourage volunteers to also see the potential and opportunities that their roles create.