Volunteering had been on my mind for a long time. However, due to time constraints during my professional life, I was not able to devote any time to it.
It was only later and once I struck out on my own, that I was able to take another look it this 'activity'. I decided to devote one day on the weekend to volunteer work.
Living in a small town of barely 5,000 inhabitants and having been involved in the community during the latter part of my working life, I decided that perhaps it would be best to offer my time and services outside my residence.
I had been visiting patients over a number of years at a hospital located a 20 minute drive from my home. Watching the way patients were treated by the professional staff and in particular by the volunteers, left a good impression with me.
The decision to become a volunteer at this hospital thus was any easy one. I made my application, went through the legal checks and was accepted. My chosen department was the palliative care unit.
It has been a rewarding experience, yet not an easy one. Not everybody is suited for this type of volunteer work. I learned very quickly to leave my workday behind at the end of my shift. Not many people can stand the course.
Today, I divide my time between working the boutique and on the palliative ward. I am tired at the end of the day. However, the feeling of having accomplished something that is desperately needed in today's society and perhaps been able to give some comfort to patients and their families, and perhaps also have taken a little weight off the workload shouldered by the nursing staff by my being there, is worth the time I give.
Volunteering for what one believes in, can only be described as a rewarding activity, not only on a personal level but for the whole of society. Just do it!
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