In an emergency
Sarah Case volunteers at the North Shore Hospital as a Friend of the Emergency Department. “I walk around the emergency department and chat to patients. I bring food and drinks (to those allowed!), magazines, blankets, telephones and pillows. I gain insight into peoples’ lives and I share with them my life. Some people in the emergency department are very ill and some of them are left alone for long periods of time. My job is to just be there for people, to show that I care about their situation. I talk to the people about anything. Sometimes I look at some patients and think that they may not want to talk to me because they look so ill but I talk to them anyway! When I do talk to these patients the miraculous thing is that they seem to come alive. They have so many magical stories to tell me.” Sarah volunteers for one shift a week, four hours every Sunday, from four to eight pm. She also fills in for other people when needed.
Sarah is twenty years old and studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy at the University of Auckland. She enjoys learning about medicine and science and, in the future, wants a job with a lot of interaction with people. She feels that her degree will lead her to a job where she can help others while continuously learning and growing. Volunteering as a Friend of the Emergency Department gives her the chance to be in a similar environment to that of her future career. Volunteering Auckland helped Sarah to match her skills and interests to a volunteer job. She says, “Volunteering Auckland has helped me get into my community and make a difference. They put me into contact with the FEDS of North Shore hospital.”
“I decided to volunteer because University was becoming a solitary place. I felt quite selfish spending so much of my time studying. I wanted to reconnect with people. I was also getting quite restless just studying. I thought that becoming a volunteer would be an interesting, novel experience. I thought it would help me to develop as a person and become more empathetic to people in the community. I wanted to have a positive influence in other people’s lives.”
Sarah feels that the benefits of volunteering are that she meets new people and learns about their lives. She feels good knowing that she is out there, helping people. “I get the satisfaction of knowing that I am actually doing something to benefit others. I get a chance to learn about their lives and the interesting reasons why they end up in hospital. Volunteering is beneficial because it makes you realise that you are alive and that other people are out there in need. It makes you realise that life is short and that your problems are miniscule. It makes me want to be alive because it gives me a purpose. Volunteering satisfies an urge that I have to help others.”