Our Volunteer roles

Here at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital, we have more than 50 different volunteer roles and our mission statement is “Giving time freely & without expectation, to enhance the care & holistic wellbeing of NNUH patients and staff”.

We pride ourselves on offering high-quality volunteering opportunities, but it takes a lot of resources and significant investment from staff to offer these opportunities and recruit volunteers safely. Because of this, we ask volunteers to commit four hours of their time each week for a minimum of six months. We appreciate this is a significant commitment, so we try to ensure our opportunities are as flexible as possible.

Here’s an outline of the main categories where you can help support our staff and patients:

Meet and Greet services

Being a Meet and Greet volunteer is a great way to meet new people, keep busy and get to know the hospital like the back of your hand.

The hospital is a big place and can be difficult to navigate, even for those who work here every day. Our Meet and Greet volunteers can be found around the site, with their red volunteer waistcoats and big smiles, and are on hand ready to help provide patients and visitors with general directions and information and validate parking tickets. They can also help with Trust departments with various administrative tasks, such as envelope filling and compiling patient information packs to support our clinical services.

Supporting our wards

Our busy ward environments are a hive of activity and can be stressful, anxiety-inducing areas, for patients. It can be particularly confusing for elderly and frail patients, especially if they have some cognitive impairment or mobility difficulties.

Ward based volunteers can assist in so many ways, both improving the experience of our patients and helping to alleviate some of the strain on our busy ward staff teams. Our volunteers help with day room activities, stocking up ward cupboards, offering companionship to patients, making teas and coffees and can help at mealtimes.

Supporting clinics

There are many clinics running every day at NNUH including blood tests, radiology, cardiology, dermatology, eye clinics, oncology and respiratory clinics, and volunteers can help with a diverse range of tasks.

Volunteers can often be found stocking up stationary supplies and equipment, directing visitors around the clinic or to other parts of the hospital, having a chat with and reassuring patients, basic filing and photocopying, and collecting scans, x-rays and post.

Those looking for a volunteer role in a clinical environment which isn’t quite as noisy and busy as our wards may find our Outpatient clinics a great place to help.

Bleep Buddies

Our Bleep Buddies role is unlike any other volunteer role and is not allocated to a particular team. This role was created following a number of calls to Voluntary Services enquiring about the availability of volunteers to help at short notice.

Volunteer Bleep Buddies carry a hospital dect phone and are available for all staff to call them for assistance with ad-hoc duties such as note running, wheelchair finding, escorting patients to clinics, distributing leaflets and posters, and basic administrative tasks such as filing, laminating, photocopying and envelope filling.

Administrative and clerical support

Behind the scenes of our busy hospital are many important volunteers supporting staff teams each day with a variety of basic, but often time-consuming, administrative tasks. There are administrative roles in many different teams across the Trust and volunteers can help with a range of tasks including filing documents, note cleansing, preparing patient information packs, photocopying and envelope filling.

Reception services

The NNUH carries out nearly one million appointments, day case procedures and admissions annually and our reception areas can often be one of the busiest areas in the hospital. Every day a team of volunteers provide a complimentary reception service to the many patients, staff and visitors coming through our busy Out-patient departments.

Many of those visiting the hospital will benefit from the assistance of our volunteers, and during any given session a Reception Volunteer may help with a range of visitor enquiries, directions to bus or taxi services, validation of parking tickets and directions to site facilities.

Patient experience

Patient feedback allows us to better understand patient experiences and to implement improvement throughout the whole of the organisation.

Our volunteers offer an independent and impartial listening ear for patients to provide honest feedback to. They support the Patient Experience Team by using iPads to conduct surveys with our patients either in person on the ward or by telephone once the patient has been discharged, visiting up to six wards per session and spending several hours talking to our patients about their hospital experience.

Settle-in Service

It can be daunting for patients to return home after a spell in hospital, particularly if they live alone or are elderly. Settle-in Service volunteers help make this transition easier by settling patients back in at home on their day of discharge. This might include doing a shop for a few essential bits of food, preparing a light meal, ensuring the heating and hot water is working, unpacking clothes, checking for possible health hazards and even arranging a follow-up call. Volunteers are community based and help on an ad hoc basis (dependant on referrals coming in for patients in the volunteers’ local area).

Transport Volunteers

Based in the Aylsham Discharge Suite or out in the community, our volunteer drivers are all about getting patients home stress-free. Volunteers meet patients in the Aylsham Discharge Suite, chat with them while they wait for medication, and reassure them that they will be home soon. They will then load up their belongings and ensure the patient is safely settled in the vehicle before driving them home. Each vehicle is equipped with a fuel card, mobile phone, breakdown kit and cleaning kit and each journey is logged in and out so we can ensure the driver and patient feels safe and confident.

Butterfly Volunteers

We are proud to be working in partnership with the Anne Robson charity to create a Butterfly Volunteer Service. The charity enables hospitals to set up and run teams of Butterfly Volunteers to provide bedside companionship to patients on the ward in their final days and hours, and emotional support to the patients’ visitors. The work these volunteers do is vital in supporting people facing the end of their life and those around them. To learn more about the service and referrals in your hospital contact Caroline, The Butterfly Volunteer Co-ordinator on caroline.stevens@nnuh.nhs.uk.

The Anne Robson Trust also runs a telephone support service. If you or someone close to you is dying, you can call on 0808 801 0688 and leave a message and they will reply on the same, or by the next working day. All UK calls are free and confidential.

Visit the Anne Robson website for more details about the charity.