Volunteering at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust (TRFT) has helped a young girl from Rotherham to gain a place on a prestigious university course.
Rachel Dalton has been volunteering as part of the Volunteer Service’s ‘Ward Crew’ on Ward B3 at Rotherham Hospital, part of TRFT, since May 2011.
Rachel, 18 and from Bramley, said: "I decided to become a volunteer because I wanted to pursue a career involving medicine or nursing. Since these kinds of courses are quite competitive, you usually can’t get onto the courses without some kind of voluntary experience."
Rachel applied to be a volunteer whilst she was studying for her A Levels and found that her role at the hospital fitted in perfectly around her studies and her part time bar job. She volunteers for two hours per week on the ward, helping out at meal times and carrying out errands for ward staff.
Rachel added: "I think volunteering has improved my communication skills. I’ve learnt what patients expect when they are being cared for and my patience level has increased, which is something I can take to university with me. I also think that the interview I had to get onto the volunteering scheme helped me prepare for my university interviews and I’ve become very good at practical skills such as making hospital beds."
Rachel enjoyed her volunteering experience so much that it helped her to make the decision to pursue a career in nursing rather than medicine, as she originally planned, she commented that she "admired the nurses on the wards so much" and that she wanted to be able to follow patients’ journeys throughout their hospital stay.
Thanks to her experience, Rachel has managed to secure a place on the only Master of Nursing course in the country at Nottingham University, which has 64 places in total and takes a year longer than the degree level nursing course.
Rachel said: I was thrilled that I managed to get 3 A’s and a B, which are the exam results I needed to get to secure my place at Uni. If I wasn’t for volunteering I doubt I would have even got an interview for the course.
"Through volunteering I have met a bunch of lovely people; the patients have been great, they like to share their stories, and the staff on B3 are fabulous. It will be sad to say goodbye to them when I leave.