Volunteering gives Charis insight into future medical career

10/Jul/2020     Mater Group

Meet Mater Volunteer Charis, she is a warm and friendly medical student who wanted to learn as much as she could about hospitals and healthcare before she eventually takes the next step in her career.

She decided to become a volunteer at Mater Hospital Brisbane three and a half years ago while completing a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences and Psychology, she is now about to embark upon a Masters Degree in Speech Therapy at the University of Queensland before ultimately transferring to medicine.

“This has been the best decision I have ever made, volunteering in the hospital has given me great insight into how things work, and I have gained insight on how a hospital works from the perspective of our patients as well,” she said.

“I feel that volunteering gives me a real sense of community and I feel as if I am making a difference. I like to be there for people when they are feeling unwell and vunerable, it’s a nice feeling to help and be able to brighten their day.

“The Mater Volunteer team are a kind, friendly close-knit group of people and it’s a fantastic community to belong to.”

Charis has many roles at Mater, she is a ward assistant where she will engage one-on-one with patients whether that be just having a chat, helping them out or maybe playing a board game to entertain them for a while.  

“I go between Mater Hospital Brisbane and Salmon Building, helping out in geriatrics and neurology mainly. I assist the allied health team with some of their activities such as the Eat Walk Engage program,” she said.

“Each shift is different and special, I used to be a patient companion in the Mater Cancer Care Centre, if we had a patient coming in for their first round of treatment sometimes they would just need someone to hold their hand, that was always a special feeling.”

Due to visitor restrictions following COVID-19 Charis was away from Mater for some weeks but now has returned and is helping with administration duties till she can go back on the wards.

“The administration work is very different, it’s great to be able to sit and chat with the rest of the team. I can’t wait to be back on the wards engaging with patients and providing emotional support,” she said.

“Volunteering at Mater has given me great insight into hospitals and health care, I am hoping to persue neurology in my medical career as I have a background in psychology.”

Senior Manager Mater Volunteers Judy Johnson said Charis is one of many outstanding volunteers who give their time so generously to support the work of Mater.

“Our volunteers have a positive impact on patient care whether they are at the bedside or supporting our staff, researchers, educators or donors,” Judy said.

"From patient transport drivers, ward nannies, hand and feet massage volunteers and patient companions to wayfinding ambassadors, admin support, fun run volunteers and many more—volunteers all contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of our community. 

“Our volunteers are living examples of Mater’s values. Their commitment and care deserve our respect.” 

To find out more about volunteering at Mater Hospital South Brisbane, Redland or Springfield please contact 07 3163 8599 or email volunteers@mater.org.au  

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