Ward Sister Cristina is the outstanding staff champion for volunteers

29th October 2021

Cristina Irimus

Cristina Irimus is a true supporter of the volunteer services at Northampton General Hospital. Cristina is a Ward Sister who was initially approached by one of the Volunteer Services Coordinators in January 2021 with a proposal to have a dedicated ward to train all of their future new incoming ward buddy volunteers. The idea was if we could find a ward to take all new volunteers then they would all be taught the same which would benefit the volunteer, the staff and overall enhance the patient experience. Cristina immediately embraced the idea as she loved having volunteers and saw the benefits of having them, she also bought into the benefit of training the volunteers all in the same place before sending them off to other wards in the hospital - so was born the Cristina Irimus Academy (the unofficial title that the volunteering service named the ward).

Since then Cristina has trained over 50 volunteers despite having two ward moves (first ward was an escalation ward). Her enthusiasm for the volunteers never falters and the feedback from the volunteers is always so positive. One volunteer’s comment after their induction onto the ward: “I loved it!! Had so much fun on Compton ward and Cristina is an amazing sister! It was a pleasure to be there.”

Even though she was so busy moving wards, uncertain where she was going and losing her team to different wards, Cristina remained so positive in front of the volunteers who came through her doors. Not once did she say ‘no more volunteers please as I am so busy’. She is a delight and inspirational for the volunteer services to work with - nothing is ever too much. When her first escalation ward was closed down the volunteers wanted to give something to the team so a handful (social distancing) came in especially, to make up goody bags for Cristina and her team.

Critina with her team

Cristina is always happy to be a voice for the volunteers, she was filmed by some of student volunteers for a project for NHS Cadets and she is always so passionate when talking about and to the volunteers. Regardless of how busy her ward is she will always make time to talk to you or explain to a volunteer the importance of carrying out even the simplest of tasks. She wants to make sure that the volunteers get the most out of their experience and is an advocate of how important volunteers are both to the success of the hospital and more importantly in enhancing the patient experience. She is always asking volunteers not to be shy in giving her feedback on her ward. If volunteers see something that can potentially enhance the patient experience or improve efficiency, she appreciates how volunteers may see things from a different perspective with a fresh set of eyes.

Cristina is adamant that every new volunteer is met on the ward by either the nurse in charge or shown around by the Ward Clerk, so they are made familiar with the ward. All of our volunteers love going to her ward and her positive attitude lives through her team who are always informed and welcome them to the ward.

Watch this video below to find out more about Cristina and how she supports the volunteers.

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