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Date: 28 November 2023
Volunteering with the chaplaincy
Our volunteers are an integral part of the chaplaincy team and help us provide spiritual, pastoral and religious care to our patients.
We have a very diverse team of chaplains from many faiths and beliefs, and this allows us to be able to provide for the many and various needs of our patients. We actively embrace our diversity working together and respecting our differences.
Volunteering in the chaplaincy can be demanding and challenging but also very rewarding. Our volunteers are passionate about what they do and are much appreciated by patients and staff.
Ward visitors are either allocated to a ward or clinical area where they visit people of any faith or none, or they visit people of a particular faith or belief wherever they are in the hospital. They visit on a regular day of the week.
Volunteers primarily listen to the concerns or issues of patients (and sometimes staff) and spend unhurried time with them. Because of the specialist nature of the treatment offered at QEHB, some of our patients are a long way from home and may not receive many visitors. Loneliness, isolation and boredom can be an issue for any patient and our volunteers can bring companionship, understanding and comfort to them.
Our Sunday volunteers provide a crucial service in helping people come to our Sunday services. There is an ecumenical Christian service in the morning and a Roman Catholic Mass in the afternoon.
Volunteers collect and return people from wards in wheelchairs and attend the service, while others play the keyboard or other instruments to accompany the service. Some people do this once a month, others more regularly. Patients are very appreciative of being able to attend worship.
Volunteers also provide invaluable help with our administration, which underpins the work that we do. IT skills are very helpful in this role.
Selection and training
The Trust has a volunteer services department (see the links at the end of the page), with whom the chaplaincy works very closely. All of our volunteers are Disclosure and Barring Service checked, attend an introductory session, and have an interview and induction.
Ward visitors additionally attend a training programme of six three-hour sessions run jointly by trusts and hospices in the region. The training programme covers a range of areas associated with providing spiritual and religious care in the various healthcare settings. Key topics include:
- experiences of ill health
- difference and diversity
- grief and loss
- communication skills
- reflective practice
- exploration of faiths
After completion of the course, volunteers will shadow a variety of chaplains prior to visiting on their own.
As well as day-to-day support for our volunteers, we run a programme of training and informative events for our volunteers. This includes visits to places of worship from a variety of faiths, lectures and workshops on clinical topics and patient care.
We also provide three yearly group mentoring sessions to inform, reflect on and discuss our practice.
Next steps if you're interested in volunteering
If you feel that volunteering with us is something that you are interested in, contact us to arrange a meeting to explore the possibilities.
Tel: 0121 371 4574