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A Day in the Life as a QEH Volunteer

Our volunteers are at the heart of team QEH, if you would like to know more visit the Volunteering page.

Front Desk - Sharon Roberts

Meet Sharon who volunteers on the Front Desk.

Sharon Roberts Volunteering on the front desk

“I have volunteered at QEH since October 1990 (this being my 32nd year). I have always worked on the front desk in the main entrance of the hospital. I started after my first husband had Leukaemia and wanted to give something back to the hospital. My intention was only to volunteer for a few months – I got that wrong! That's what happens when volunteering with QEH, the people you work with are lovely and you find yourself wanting to stay.

My role on the desk is to help with anything and anyone that comes through the front door and requests from members of staff. This can range from simple questions for directions to quite complicated matters that can take a whole shift to complete. The people we meet vary so much and some are such characters you never forget them! I have had a lot of smiles and laughs and even after all these years, someone still manages to ask a question or two that I've never been asked before!

We see all sides of the hospital from people’s grief to the happiness of going home with a new-born. I get a great deal of satisfaction from every single one of the people we help, and if the people I’ve interacted with leave just a little more reassured, then I've had a good day.

I love people and I love helping!”

Pharmacy Runner - Andrew Bailey

Meet Andrew who volunteers as a Pharmacy Runner.

Andrew Bailey Pharmacy Runner

“My name is Andrew Bailey, and I am a retired civil servant. Back in early 2017, when I was looking for a new challenge in retirement, one of my daughters suggested I could consider becoming a volunteer at the local hospital. I joined Voluntary Services at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), King's Lynn in March 2017 and took on my first role as a Volunteer driver for the Pathology Lab, using a pool car, taking blood samples to Addenbrookes and NNUH for analysis. This role extended to taking doctors to and from their clinics at North Cambs Hospital (Wisbech). I found this role very rewarding, meeting new people and being able to demonstrate the versatility of the Voluntary Service.

In January 2018 a new role of volunteer Pharmacy Runner was introduced in QEH. I took the opportunity to add this new initiative to my skills. Waiting for prescribed medicines can be one of the main reasons behind delays in patients being discharged. As one of a small team of volunteer Pharmacy Runners we save our frontline colleagues the job of waiting to pick up prescribed medicines from the Pharmacy. On a 6 hour shift I can easily cover more than 12,000 steps, across the hospital, keeping me fit, active, and on the go. Volunteering keeps me young.

I like to help anyone visiting QEH in any way I can, making their experience as pleasant and stress free as possible simply by being a friendly face giving directions or assisting someone less able-bodied by wheelchair. With over 5 years’ experience in voluntary service at QEH, I particularly enjoy mentoring newcomers to voluntary service. I believe volunteering at QEH is a brilliant way to meet new people, utilise existing skills and learn new ones. Volunteering also helps develop life skills, such as gaining confidence and self-esteem; whilst also being fun, it is personally rewarding, and it truly makes a difference.”

Ward Volunteer - Ros Virgo

Meet Ros who volunteers on the Wards.

Ros Virgo volunteering on the wards

“I have been working as a volunteer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a few years. When I first started, I was a driver and an admin assistant. This role included driving doctors and consultants to clinics around the county and working on spread sheets in the volunteer's office. I found this role very interesting and every shift different.

When returning to work after the Covid-19 lockdown, there were needs in other departments within the hospital. I now work one morning a week on the front desk in the main reception area and I absolutely love this role. My duties include- directing patients, friends, and families to different departments around the hospital and answering a wide range of enquires. I also assist patients in wheelchairs to get to their appointments, organise taxis, handle lost property and generally greeting and chatting with people coming into our hospital. Every day is different and very rewarding knowing you have helped someone.

I also volunteer one morning a week on Castleacre ward. This is the maternity ward and is completely different to the Front Desk. I really enjoy this role and look forward to seeing all the new-born babies. My duties within this role include serving tea and coffee to the new and expectant parents, replace water jugs, changing beds, keeping the kitchen clean and tidy, refilling the linen trollies, running errands and anything else I am asked to do.

I absolutely love being a volunteer at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and feel a very valued member of the team. I always look forward to coming in and working with my colleagues and all the patients.”

Macmillan - Theresa Banks

Meet our John Voaden Volunteer of the Year for 2022 Theresa who volunteers in the Macmillan Centre.

Theresa Banks - Volunteer of the year award

“I have been a volunteer in the Macmillan Treatment Centre for the last 6 years. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

I work two full days a week, and sometimes fill in when others are away.

It is a physically demanding role as you are on the go all the time, but it’s not just about being a tea lady. As we have regular patients at the unit, you get to know your patients very well and look forward to seeing them, as they do us. Quite often, if I’ve been away for any reason, my patients will express their pleasure at seeing me back which is very gratifying.

This says so much about our role. The medical staff bring treatment; we bring sandwiches, cake, drinks, and a listening ear. We have the time to offer patients and relatives who need our comforting ‘complementary therapy’. We also perform many tasks the staff have little time for – taking and collecting prescriptions, pathology deliveries, transporting patients to other areas, stocking up medical trolleys, cleaning, and general duties. I feel really needed and appreciated by everyone in the unit and I look forward every shift.

Contact us for more information

If you are thinking about volunteering at QEH and you would like to know more about the type of Voluntary roles available, please contact the Voluntary Services Manager.

Joanne Rowe
Voluntary Services Manager

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust
Gayton Road
King's Lynn
PE30 4ET
Phone: 01553 214687