Wendy’s story – making a difference during the pandemic
"I was happy to know that I could contribute in some way and potentially brighten a patient’s day."
“Looking back at when the pandemic hit, it marks a time of uncertainty and confusion. I was a third-year student with no idea how my studies would continue. More so, it was very uncertain how I would be able to pursue my volunteering roles. During those difficult circumstances it became very clear that I would have to adapt to continue pursuing the things I love.
My volunteering at both the Royal Edinburgh hospital and with Rowan Alba gave me a sense of purpose and fulfilment when I needed it most. I was a newly inducted volunteer at the Royal Edinburgh hospital when the pandemic hit. This meant I started my journey doing remote volunteering. This involved creating tasks that could be used in the wards to provide meaningful activities and some normality for patients. I was aware that this would not replace face-to-face interaction. However, this became the new normal and I was happy to know that I could contribute in some way and potentially brighten a patient’s day.
My work with Rowan Alba as a Community Alcohol Related Damage Service (CARDS) Volunteer did a full 360. I went from visiting my client in her care home to not being able to see her at all. This was a big adjustment period and I had to learn how to convey empathy and active listening through the phone. This was really daunting at first as I often relied on my facial expressions and body language during our sessions. As this was no longer possible, I had to learn how to communicate using just with my voice. It was important for me to stay motivated and passionate about my volunteering roles this fuelled me to stay positive through tough times during several lockdowns.
Currently, face to face interaction has made a return and I am a recent graduate. Although I hope we never go into lockdown again, I feel confident that I have developed a whole new set of skills revolving around learning how to be a support for someone in a COVID-19 world.”
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