Our volunteers were the heroes of the pandemic
27th November 2020
Submitted by Kerry Harper, Nottingham University Hospitals
At the outbreak of the pandemic, Nottingham University Hospitals created a volunteer scheme “Teams Helping Teams” (THT) in which staff volunteers were requested alongside existing NUH registered volunteers to support our Trust.
It has been an incredible journey and the successes reached by the initiative are completely down to staff team volunteers and registered NUH volunteers demonstrating an incredible united front constantly offering endless enthusiasm and commitment to each and every task asked of them.
“Cleaning On The Go” Volunteers participated for over five months. We equipped volunteers with a pack of cleaning wipes and some gloves to increase cleaning visibility in all areas and to support our Estate and Facilities cleaning teams. During April and May sampling of touch points in both clinical and non-clinical areas returning with ALL samples negative, this is an overwhelming testament to the time and hard work put into this role by those involved.
In April 2020 we launched a dedicated service to help patients, their families and loved ones to keep in touch. ‘Messages for Loved Ones’ has had a massive impact in ensuring people remain emotionally connected during social distancing and restricted visitation. Volunteers daily collected the messages delivering them to ward entrances for staff to then distribute to their patients.
Volunteers took on the task of becoming ‘Social Distancing Champion’s’ wearing high visibility jackets locating themselves at our entrances and in corridors advising patients and staff.
Since the ruling for all patients and staff to wear masks in hospital our volunteers have taken on the role of initially handing out masks at our entrances to more recently topping up our mask displacers located at each entrance to the hospital. Undertaking this duty has ensured masks are available for all whilst relieving the burden of this task on paid staff.
Other tasks such as the distribution of gifts donated to our Trust for patients and staff on the front line involved the planning and mobilisation of large groups of volunteers across the Trust in order to reach patients and staff with moral boosting gifts.
We established Teams Helping Teams, the staff volunteers and registered volunteers scheme to support a range of initiatives. The initiative has been a great success and all volunteers have played a vital role in all schemes over the past few months.
Examples of how this initiative has made a difference:
• Excellent in demonstrating cleanliness and supporting staff in hygiene standards.
• Impact in ensuring people remain emotionally connected during social distancing.
• Helping and advising with hospital masks.
• Patients and staff with moral boosting.
Our Volunteers have become the heroes of our pandemic quietly going about their tasks delivering items, handing out masks and touch point cleaning whilst meeting work colleagues you know, making new friends along the way and constantly being the friendly face of NUH by saying good morning and enthusing staff to carry on their day.
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