So for about six months I have been volunteering at the Douglas Macmillan hospice on the Inpatient unit, which is essentially very similar to a hospital ward without all the crazy rushing about!
The hospice provides end of life care for patients who are not responding to treatment, or just offers a place for people to come for a short stay to allow their carers to have a rest.
I originally started this position to help me gain some experience within the medical area of science, which will support my applications for medical schools in the future. I started early January 2015, looking back now i can see that they started me off slowly! Given the nature of the work it is very easy to let your emotions take over, don’t get me wrong it’s a hard thing to do however it’s only life. As cold as it sounds, it’s the mentality you have to have when working there. It is very important to not take any emotions away from the hospice into your normal life, it can have detrimental effects on your mental state.
However it’s not just things about medicine i have learnt since working there, now that i have worked there for a while i have began to view things in life differently, when some of the patients ask me what i want to do with my life they always say; “whatever it is, don’t give up”. And that’s what i have learnt, even though it’s easy to say you have had enough and give up, what would happen if you didn’t; what would you achieve.
Although i began working there to gain medical experience, the main things that i have learnt have not been related to that what so ever. I feel that the very nature of learning is that the inexperienced listen and take note from the experience and learn from their knowledge. Therefore if i have the opportunity to learn from people who have excessive amounts of ‘life knowledge’ i’m going to listen very carefully to what they have to say.
I enjoy volunteering at the hospice, i have met some lovely people and learnt a lot about the medical area, but most importantly i have learnt some valuable life lessons.