‘I really enjoy talking with the patients and their families’
by Callum Blundell Student volunteer This week is Student Volunteering Week, a nationwide celebration of student volunteering. We’ll be celebrating the efforts of Marie Curie student volunteers every day this week by asking some of them to tell us what it’s like to volunteer while studying. Callum Blundell volunteers at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast as a Refreshment and Catering Assistant and has been part of the team for two and a half years. Callum is in the first year of his Medicine degree at Queen’s University Belfast. What is your volunteering role? As a Ward Volunteer my shift starts by going round the ward with the drinks trolley followed by helping the chef serve the patients’ dinners. After that it’s a lot of collecting in dishes and stacking the dishwasher! Later on I do a round of tea, coffee and biscuits for the patients. Why did you choose to volunteer while studying? I initially decided to volunteer as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award. I was also keen to volunteer at the Marie Curie Hospice, Belfast to gain a first-hand insight into palliative care, which is a side to medicine that I had not considered before. What is your favourite part of volunteering? I really enjoy talking with the patients and their families; it’s very interesting witnessing how people cope at such a difficult time. A particular highlight of my time volunteering was when I went into the hospice to volunteer on Christmas Day. I helped to serve the Christmas dinner, did a round of tea and coffee, and had a chat with anyone that wanted to. Do you face any challenges while volunteering? Volunteering in the ward means I sometimes develop friendships with some of the patients and watching their condition decline over the weeks can be difficult. Has volunteering had any impact on you personally? I think volunteering at the hospice has definitely made me a more empathetic person and I am now better able to understand how people react to different situations. Working on the ward has shown me what it’s like to be part of a team and I’ve seen that things run a lot smoother when everybody is taking part. It has also shown me that the nurses and doctors at the hospice truly do an amazing job. If you could offer one piece of advice to students thinking about getting involved in some volunteering, what would it be? Definitely do it! Volunteering is really rewarding. What are your plans for the future after you graduate? Hopefully I will get a good placement as part of my degree in Medicine, maybe abroad. The idea of a ski season after I graduate is also very tempting! To find a volunteering role that suits you, search though our current opportunities and apply online at mariecurie.org.uk/volunteering .