Millie Johnson, 17, and Saidhriti Siddantham, 16, are the latest Young Ambassadors to graduate from St Clare Hospice’s clinical placement programme.
The Young Ambassadors scheme is now in its fourth year at the Essex hospice, and offers young people aged 16-18 the opportunity to experience a unique insight into the many roles required to provide care to patients with life-limiting conditions.
This six-month voluntary placement is a hands-on, clinical role on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit, where Young Ambassador volunteers shadow nursing staff providing care and support to patients. The project aims to assist those who are interested in a career in medicine, nursing, or healthcare to gain practical experience of the clinical world and voluntary sector. This can be particularly helpful for enhancing university or job applications, as well as developing valuable life skills.
St Clare Hospice’s Voluntary Services Manager, Rob Wallace, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our Young Ambassadors scheme at St Clare – and of our two, newest graduates, Millie and Saidhriti! It’s been such a pleasure to see the pair gain a wealth of skills and understanding from volunteering with us on our Inpatient Unit. We hope that the experience they have gained will set them on a strong foot to begin their careers in healthcare and medicine!”
Reflecting on her experience with St Clare, Millie commented: “The Young Ambassador experience has been so inspiring and rewarding. It has helped me to progress in my journey to becoming a paramedic student, and increased my passion to go into healthcare. I have had a wonderful opportunity to talk to so many new people, learning from them and observing the nurses. I have experienced things I didn’t think I would be able to do.”
Millie added: “One of the most memorable things I will take away are the wonderful stories and experiences people shared with me and all the new people I met. I feel privileged to have been involved in such a personal time in people’s lives. I am so grateful for the opportunity and would recommend anyone thinking about volunteering at St Clare to do it!”
Saidhriti also commented on her experience at St Clare, and said: “Volunteering at the hospice has been an amazing experience. It has been invaluable in teaching me about holistic healthcare, which St Clare Hospice prides itself in.
“The care is patient-centred, and each person is given autonomy regardless of their condition; their clinical, mental and spiritual needs are kept in mind at all times. I understand now that working in healthcare, requires not just scientific knowledge, but a capability to view your patient as a whole – a cumulation of body, mind, emotions and spirit.”
Commenting on what she learned, Saidhriti said: “I have watched the doctors interact with patients, noting how they phrased questions to get answers that will help them provide the right treatment. I shadowed the nurses while they gave medication or personal care, and sat in during the staff handover meetings where I started to learn specialist terminology and which important details to look out for when checking up on a patient.
“I also now have an awareness of drugs and their administration, infection control and safeguarding. The volunteers also showed me that there are many more jobs in running the hospice than you think.
“However, one of the most memorable parts of spending time at St Clare was having my first ever roast dinner! I am so grateful for having this opportunity, and to the people at the hospice for making me feel welcome and for being eager to teach me – be it the volunteers, the IPU staff or the doctors!”
For more information visit St Clare Hospice