“Through volunteering, I’ve become more confident”

Tania Hadimadja, 16, from Eltham Hill School, is one of Imperial Health Charity’s patient engagement volunteers at Hammersmith Hospital. To mark #iwillWeek 2018, young people taking part in social action, Tania shares her experiences of being a youth volunteer.

“I’ve been volunteering since I was eight years old, including at a city farm and a homeless charity, but this is my first experience of volunteering in the medical field.

I’m currently in year 12 and taking my A Levels, hoping to study medicine at university and pursue a career as a doctor. I’m volunteering with Imperial Health Charity to gain more experience and knowledge about medicine, as well as insight into the different roles in hospital. It’s a great opportunity for me to engage directly with patients, visitors and medical professionals.

My role involves talking to patients and making sure nurses know if visitors have any concerns. I help visitors with directions around the hospital if they get lost and I also make quite a few cups of tea! As a patient engagement volunteer, I help patients who are going through an emotional experience feel more confident, secure and able to talk about their feelings. Patients sometimes feel uncomfortable talking to senior people about their experiences as they don’t want to burden them. Volunteers like me help patients feel understood, recognised and listened to.

I’ve had many memorable experiences during my time here but one in particular stands out: I noticed a patient was crying heavily, so I sat and talked to her and was able to calm her down. After we had spoken for a while, she smiled, which was very rewarding. Another time a patient said I reminded her of her daughter, a doctor, which made me feel honoured.

Volunteering with Imperial Health Charity has given me the opportunity to face new challenges, handle situations under pressure and communicate with patients, particularly patients who are older. Thanks to this experience I am more confident in forming relationships with others and making decisions. I think volunteering has so many benefits for younger people and I hope I can encourage more people to come and volunteer here.”

To find out more about volunteering at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, visit Imperial Health Charity’s website.