Student Alice O’Sullivan was inspired to embark on a career in nursing after she began volunteering at North London Hospice.
“The care is really something else here. It’s a wonderful place to help and inspired me to become a nurse,” said 21-year-old Alice who is now in her second year as a student nurse at Hertfordshire University.
She began volunteering on our Finchley ward two-and-a-half years ago whilst studying for her A’Levels. “I serve breakfast and lunch to the patients, take them to the park or sometimes just sit and play dominoes or cards with them. As a volunteer you get to know patients and meet their families and listen to the stories about their lives. It’s really rewarding.”
Alice explains how no two days are ever the same and often volunteers have the chance to really help deliver a dream for a patient. “The hospice was caring for a man whose son was about to turn 18 and he desperately wanted to be with him to celebrate. So, together volunteer Joe Attridge, we arranged for him to go home to join his son and their family for a celebratory party for a few hours. It was wonderful to be able to make that happen and meant so much to the family. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Hospice care is often misunderstood and at its core is supporting people to live their lives as well as they can. Alice added: “When I told my mum I wanted to volunteer at our local hospice, although supportive, she was very emotional and said it was something she didn’t think she could do. But when I’m with the patients I don’t think about their condition, I think of them as people and if I can do something special, like arrange a special meal, or just spend time with them, it’s lovely. I never leave after a shift feeling sad. I’m always happy.
“The nurses on the ward are so friendly and have time for people. I hope one day I might be able to join them as a nurse.”
If Alice’s story has inspired you to explore volunteering opportunities with North London Hospice, please get in touch by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Over 700 volunteers support our work and we couldn’t operate without them. We need volunteers for patient facing and front of house ‘meet and greet’ roles at our Finchley hospice as well as in our fundraising and retail departments.