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P-273 ‘i always dreamed i would be a nurse’ – the emergence of adult care volunteers
  1. Sue Marshall and
  2. Tricia Wilcocks
  1. ellenor, Kent, UK


Background Staff working in a care setting should have a minimum training based on their Care Certificate (Cavendish, 2013). Sixth form students have been achieving a Care Certificate through a supported learning programme within the hospice (Wilcocks & Marshall, 2017). Adult volunteers were inspired by what these students have achieved and asked if a similar opportunity could be provided to adults, enabling their volunteering time to support the clinical staff in a more practical way.

Aims Facilitating volunteers to develop care skills, in order to provide the hospice with a brand new team of ‘Care Volunteers’.

Methods Volunteers who approached the education team were interviewed; four were accepted for a pilot project. A range of training and work plans were organised including:

  • Induction in statutory and mandatory topics

  • An overview of palliative care

  • The outline of the Care Certificate standards and workbook

  • Buddies allocated to monitor, support, advise, shadow and provide feedback

  • Mobile messaging application used for communication and support

  • Weekly tutorials and observations of competencies

  • Practical competencies include moving and handling, personal care, nutrition and hydration.

Results Four adult volunteers completed their Care Certificate within eight weeks, working half a day a week. Two now work as care volunteers on inpatient ward, two have taken their care skills to the Hospice at Home team; one has been recruited to a paid role.

Quotes from Care Volunteers:

I am so proud of myself ….taking on this learning at my age

I always dreamed I would be a nurse, now I feel my dream has pretty much come true

Quote from Staff

‘Invaluable’…. ‘The support these learners are providing staff and families has already made a massive impact to our services

Conclusion Comprehensive training can empower volunteers to provide a key role in supporting hands on patient care. Growing our own staff has now become a reality.

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