From volunteer to member of staff

7th December 2022

Cornwall Screenshot 2022 12 07 150717

Hannah Snelling had a foundation degree in health and nutrition and completed a full degree in human behavioural studies with first class honours prior to volunteering. Although Hannah had gained valuable knowledge, she wanted hands-on experience and applied to volunteer on a mental health ward. At the time there wasn't a suitable role, so we offered Hannah a mealtime assistant position in St Austell Community Hospital. Hannah was pleased to accept this, and she soon became a valued member of the team.

When the Covid pandemic struck and visiting ended, Hannah volunteered to carry on visiting the wards to help patients carry out video calls via iPads whilst wearing full PPE and following strict infection control procedures. When an opportunity came up for a job on the Trust's flexi team, Hannah applied and was successful.

Hannah said: "Volunteering helped me with gaining employment with the flexi team as I had several months of experience on the wards to share during my interview and I could apply this experience to the role of an HCA on the wards".

After a few months of employment with the flexi-team, Hannah put herself forward as a candidate for a volunteer governor role, in which her nomination was successful.

Hannah said: "Being a Governor has been really valuable as I have had the opportunity to learn the workings of the NHS at a systematic level. I continue to learn something new with every governor meeting and this has been a good experience to include when applying for my master’s degree".

Hannah will be studying towards a master’s degree in Psychology with the University of Exeter and was provided with a reference for this by the Volunteer Manager. Hannah’s long term career goal is to become a research psychologist. Reflecting on her volunteering, Hannah explained “All the experience I have gained with the NHS has provided me with practical experience within health care, a huge challenge for myself as having Asperger’s syndrome I struggle with the social aspect. The practical experience has been a positive challenge however, and I hope I have grown and feel I continue to learn how to work cohesively within a team".

Despite being busy working and carrying out her Governor role, Hannah continues to volunteer by speaking at monthly Health Works for Cornwall meetings, (‘An Introduction to Working in Health and Care’ virtual programme which enables participants to gain more of an understanding of the NHS as a whole, meet different professionals and hear about their job roles, in-depth workshops focusing on how to apply for NHs jobs, and other workshops focusing on key skills). Hannah tells participants about her journey so far, answers any questions and encourages attendees to volunteer as a way of gaining confidence, experience and as a potential route into employment in the NHS.

Nominated for the 2022 Volunteer to Career category

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