If you’re looking to volunteer as a nurse or clinician then you don’t have to go abroad; we have some truly rewarding opportunities for volunteer doctors, carers and healthcare professionals, right here in the UK.
Why volunteer with us?
As far as we know, we are the first and only hospice in the UK to fully integrate volunteer medics, clinicians and carers into the heart of our team. What makes us unique is that the vast majority of our team, including senior management and care staff, are volunteers. Everyone is here purely for the love of the work.
Volunteering at Skanda Vale Hospice can be like going on a retreat. You’ll be working alongside some inspiring individuals with a deep commitment to mindful care and compassionate living. It’s a chance to give hands-on care, re-energise and have a restorative break in a peaceful, rural location, where you can take your skills, knowledge and life experience to a new plateau.
- Be a good and patient listener.
- Have space in your mind to respond sensitively and thoughtfully to each situation.
- Be flexible to adapt to the individual needs of the patient.
- Be prepared to do things differently.
- Have a readiness to share your life experience in an appropriate and enriching manner.
- Be able to put yourself in other’s shoes.
- Have a good sense of humour.
- You should be a Registered Nurse currently on the NMC Register.
- You will be compassionate and innovative in your approach to caring for others.
- It’s helpful if you have some experience of caring for individuals with palliative care or complex needs, but not essential. Most importantly, you are a nurse who wishes to make a difference in the lives of those you care for.
- You’ll need excellent organizational and communication skills to help our team to deliver appropriate and responsive care.
- You’ll have the flexibility to take on occasional non-nursing tasks.
Volunteer healthcare support worker
- Previous care experience is helpful but not essential.
- You will be working with the support of an experienced palliative care nurse.
- You’ll be giving personal care to our patients, attending to their personal hygiene, helping with dressing, eating and drinking.
- There will be some general housekeeping tasks such as laundry, bed-making and making snacks for our patients.
- You’ll help patients, families and team members find creative ways to enhance their health, well-being and quality of life.
You will always be working under the supervision of a highly experienced palliative care nurse who will take responsibility for each shift. You choose the level of involvement that you would like to take.
There is no transfer of care, so our patient’s specialist medical and primary care teams remain the lead professionals.
It’s usually best if you are able to give five days or more at a time. That way you can engage more with our patients, so it’s more satisfying for you, and better for the patients.
If you’re currently working, you may like to come for one week a year, or if you’re retired or working part-time, you may like to volunteer more often. Please just speak to Aquila or Jane and we’ll help work out a plan that’s best for you.
We have a purpose-built, three-bedroom house available for our clinical volunteers, set in a remote, peaceful rural location.
‘Craig Fryn’ features a beautiful open-plan kitchen with living area and conservatory, a wet room, bathroom, three single bedrooms, laundry and utility room, plus biomass-fuelled underfloor heating throughout.
If you would like to bring your family, you may prefer to stay together in ensuite family rooms with balconies, overlooking a beautiful wooded valley in Skanda Vale Ashram.
Great food will be provided free of charge during your stay. If you don’t have a car, don’t worry – we may be able to help with transport to and from the hospice.
We host a series of workshops for new clinical volunteers throughout the year. It’s a chance to meet your new team and share ideas on best practice.
Cath Thompson, our Clinical Lead, will share insight and experience on important subjects, such as how we balance person-centred care with statutory regulation.
Brother Michael or Brother Jakob will then host a discussion about meeting the needs of the local community. You can find out more about our approach to mindful caregiving.
If you so wish, all workshop attendees may enjoy privileged access to Skanda Vale temples during their stay.
We have ongoing professional development training days, led by expert speakers, offered free of charge to enhance your knowledge and skills. Previous topics have included:
- Advance care planning
- Medical ethics
- Respiratory illnesses
- Dementia care
I have tried to explain to so many people what this feeling is like here. And I can’t. There aren’t words to describe it. This place is full of people that care – they are volunteers most of them. And we’re not just talking about any staff, we’re talking about nurses and doctors. These are people that are qualified. They could charge money – but they volunteer.
Patient-centred care is about being the patient, yourself. It’s about identifying yourself with that patient. So it’s about having that incredible sensitivity. That is what transforms people. That’s what a patient says is a tangible experience of love when they come through the door of the hospice. That’s half the battle done.
How do I apply?
If you have any questions, we’d love to help, please just call Nicky Gilbert at the hospice, on 01559 371222. If you ready to apply now, please fill in the form below.
What happens next?
Either Nicky or Aquila will be in touch within a day or so. We’ll ask for two character references from colleagues or professionals, and begin the process of making a DBS check to ensure you can work safely with vulnerable people.
We then will recommend you join us for a Clinical Volunteering Workshop, so you can meet other new volunteers and receive your induction training. After that, you’ll be ready to roll!