04 June 2013
A group of volunteers known as Nightingales are helping to make General Hospital visits easier for islanders.
The volunteers have been recruited to meet and greet patients who come to the hospital and might need assistance with directions to get to their appointment. They are based in the Outpatients Department, in the Gwyneth Huelin wing.
The 34 volunteers, 29 women and five men, who range in age from 18 to 80+, have been recruited to the roles in the last few weeks, are easily identifiable by the purple sashes they wear. There are always two volunteers on duty at one time, and team members continue to receive enquiries about working as a volunteer in the role.
Information provided for visitors
The head of operational support services at the General Hospital Simone Olds said “We had a wonderful response to our recruitment campaign, which we did by putting posters up around the Hospital. We have been overwhelmed by the response to this, and have already had good feedback and compliments about the service.
“If you don’t come to the Hospital much, you might not know where things are, or be anxious about ensuring you get to your appointment on time. Our volunteers know the building well, and are pleased to be able to provide everyone with a warm welcome, direct them to wards and departments, and give answers to any questions they might have, to help make their visit that little bit easier.”
Transport service liaison
The volunteers provide a liaison point between patients and the Patient Transport Service, so people can be taken home as quickly as possible after their appointments.
The volunteers have received training to prepare them for their new role, and have answers to frequently asked questions.
The name Nightingales was chosen to fit in with the caring ethos embodied by Florence Nightingale, and the healthcare profession.
Ms Olds said “Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and make new friends, try out something different, pass on your skills to others, get back into employment, gain worthwhile experience for your CV, and access training and learn new skills.”
Deputy Anne Pryke, Minister for Health and Social Services, said she was delighted to see the Nightingale scheme come into effect. “We have more than 500 people attending for their outpatient appointments each day, and to be greeted by a friendly face provides an excellent first impression of the Hospital,” she said. “I’m very pleased to hear that so many volunteers have come forward and would like to thank them for the work they are doing.”
HSSD has worked with the Jersey Employment Trust and been in contact with Social Security and the Back to Work at Social Security to help find volunteers.