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Volunteering as a lay health worker

The world is full of services that could do with volunteers now and again. Healthcare is no different,services tend to be stretched to the limits especially with inadequate healthcare workers in our part of the world. You do not have to be formally trained as a nurse or doctor to be eligible for some voluntary work in healthcare.

All you need is time to spare, and some passion to do some good. You will not be doing it for money either, it’s all voluntary, remember? You will end up doing some chores for the sick, which they will treasure for the rest of their days. But you also accrue some benefits. You will get new connections, learn new skills, interact with role models, and generally feel good in yourself. Who knows, you might even end up finding a new career!

You will need some basic person specifications to be suitable as a lay healthcare volunteer. The skills you need include some basic level of education, good communication, high integrity, ability to work as part of a team and other soft skills. You want to be sure that you would be comfortable working in an environment where encounters with the sick is commonplace. Any cold feet should get you volunteering elsewhere, say the food industry for example.

Once you decide voluntary health work is for you, the next step is to select the healthcare setting where your services may be required. This could be in a hospital setting, an outpatient centre or even in a remote locale with some unwieldy epidemic. Most healthcare institutions have voluntary programs that you can fit into, you only need to ask. You will normally be taken through some vetting to make sure you are the right type. Be sure you are very clear why you want to volunteer, and for how long. Any ulterior motives will get you rejected before you even start.

Your tasks as a lay volunteer will be mostly non-medical, even though you may inevitably end up with some mundane non-skilled medical chores. You might be assigned to help out at the reception areas, guiding patients and their accompanying folk as they come along. You may end up in the medical records department, helping out with filing or inputting codified data. Or you might even spend some time helping out with customer relations. You could even suggest where you think your skills fit best. The idea is to help out as much as possible.

If you have the time, and some skills that you could offer, consider volunteering in healthcare. You will make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Your day to day encounters with the sick may be all they need to feel better and heal quicker. You will also get enriched in other ways.

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The world is full of services that could do with volunteers now and again. Healthcare is no different,services tend to be stretched to the limits especially with inadequate healthcare workers in our part of the world. You do not have to be formally trained as a nurse or doctor to be eligible for some voluntary work in healthcare.

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