Student volunteers share passion for helping Mater patients

Brisbane volunteers Shaqireen Azam and Malihah Rustam are more than just students, they’re friends who share a passion for helping people in their community.

The Malaysian-born pair, who met through family friends, are shining the spotlight on National Student Volunteer Week (8–14 August), calling on more students to lend a helping hand at Mater Hospitals.

Mater Volunteer Senior Manager Judy Johnson said students are valued members of the team at Mater making up about 15 per cent of Mater’s volunteers, assisting in roles including patient hand and foot massages, administration, and supporting inpatients who are frail and living with dementia.

With a decrease in volunteers as a result of recruitment slowing during COVID-19, Ms Johnson said students like Shaqireen and Malihah were an “asset” to the team, bringing great energy and a willingness to learn away from their classrooms.

“For student volunteers, having a role away from their classrooms can be beneficial and a way to relieve some stress,” Ms Johnson said.

“Hands-on experience in a hospital environment can be very rewarding and a valuable experience. Many students volunteer as a steppingstone to one day working within a healthcare environment.”

Shaqireen, a 19-year-old student nurse, volunteers as an administration assistant at the Mater Cancer Care Centre in South Brisbane, helping to file patient forms and documents.

Last year she was an Ambassador, assisting lost patients navigate their way around the hospital.

“I found this role really helpful as I am studying nursing and want to get more experience within a hospital setting. I think it’s a great career opportunity especially because I want to work at Mater one day,” Shaqireen, of Kuraby, said.

“Volunteering is really fulfilling and a great past time for when I am not studying. I really enjoy showing patients where to go when they are lost or can’t find the right clinic or building.”

Malihah, a 22-year-old law graduate, started volunteering as an Ambassador at Mater Hospital Brisbane while studying and enjoys meeting patients from various cultures.

“It’s a really big hospital and I was a bit nervous at first, but everyone is so nice and welcoming,” Malihah, of Toowong, said.

“On my first day I met a Singaporean patient and we were able to converse in Malay; it was nice to direct them to where they needed to be with ease.”

Mater Volunteers welcome university students and continuing education students to the volunteer program. The minimum time commitment is one, four-hour shift per week (same day and time) for four continuous months of volunteer service.

To find out more about volunteering at Mater phone 3163 8599, email or click here to visit the website.

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