Celebrating International Volunteer Day

06/Dec/2020     Mater Group

International Volunteer Day (5 December) is held each year to raise awareness on the important role volunteers play in responding to challenges facing the world, and here at Mater volunteers play an integral role in providing care and support to patients.

In recognition of this year’s International Volunteer Day, we heard from Mater Hospital Brisbane volunteer Helen who has worked in the Mater Cancer Care Centre for the past five years.

Helen spent forty years as a nurse while her husband served in the army, they moved around Australia where she worked in 14 different hospitals until wanting to undergo further study.

“I received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major of Literature and History with Sociology at the age of 49 years old, I then formalised my nursing qualifications at the age of 56 with a Bachelor of Nursing,” Helen said.

“I loved every minute of it and I didn’t mind being a mature aged student, life is not over in your 20’s and you can always change direction, try something new or even complete something formally, you get there in the long run.

“Once I retired I did settle down to take care of my three grandsons. Once they were off to school I began to look for something else to do, I think as a nurse hospitals stay in your blood, so naturally I gravitated to Mater.”

Helen says it has been a privilege to work in the Cancer Care Centre, she loves meeting new people, bringing them something to drink and having a chat but also has a wonderful skill at building rapport with the patients.

“You do have some sad moments, but that’s why we are here, we support each other. The patients give you perspective on what’s important in life. Sometimes they need you to hold their hand, sometimes they need to cry and sometimes they need to have a laugh which is what we love to do.

“We don’t try to understand them, we just try to empathise with them. Everyone is different, and no one knows what each person is going through. We just need to be there for them and listen to them.

“I would say to anyone who was thinking of volunteering get out there and give it a go, this is the best experience you will ever have.”  

To find out more about volunteering at Mater please contact 07 3163 8599 or email volunteers@mater.org.au

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