Volunteering Work Experience

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Through work experience and volunteering, I have been amazed by the diverse knowledge of the doctors, their dedication to medicine and patient care, and it is a vocation I am ready to commit to. I found the contrast of shadowing an orthopaedic surgeon to a GP very interesting, how an orthopaedic surgeon is more focused on the pain that affects them. Clearly mending an arthritic knee or worn hip will impact their daily life, but the GP showed me how vital it is to treat the whole patient, not only the disease.

By volunteering at St Oswald’s Hospice over the past six months, I have gained greater experience in communication with patients and their families in very difficult circumstances, often facing complex diseases. Volunteering weekly in the hospice has reiterated
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I have further improved my inter-personal skills by tutoring maths to a 13-year-old boy. By meeting weekly we have built a relationship where he is now more willing to voice issues with his work. I saw this principle with the GP, where the previous relationship allowed the patient to speak more openly. I found this made the largest difference with mental health patients who often had complex histories. Whilst allowing me to take the leadership role, tutoring has shown that not every approach works first time and different steps must be taken. I saw this in the GP’s surgery when patients returned for follow ups when blood tests did not show the route of the problem, or when drugs prescribed earlier were not having the desired effect. Finding different ways of communicating has been a challenge that I have overcome at the Hospice, changing open-ended questions to simple yes or no answer ones is a way I have learnt to communicate with patients who find speech difficult. For those who are hard of hearing, I found simple sentences and non-verbal communication by hand gestures works

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