Despite a busy schedule as a graduate student in clinical pharmacology at University of Toronto and a research position at the Hospital for Sick Children, Aniket has spent every Sunday afternoon for the past 4 years volunteering on the 3rd floor at The Grace chatting to patients, playing games and generally providing companionship, conversation and a breath of fresh air.
Starting his volunteer involvement helping with administrative and leadership activities in the volunteer department, Aniket transitioned into patient care and he now acts as a volunteer trainer as well. Each of these positions has offered valuable experience and contributed to both his personal confidence and competence in the other areas of his life.
Volunteers have the unique opportunity to spend time with patients and form relationships based on mutual interests and viewpoints, sometimes coming together across a large gap in age. Aniket remembers well a connection made with a much older man who was confined to his bed and his room most of the time. After they had got to know each other the man felt comfortable sharing a personal story about how he’d met his wife and the romance they’d had. Aniket then asked for some advice about dealing with a situation in his family and appreciated the wisdom the man shared based on his experience with his children. He reflected that both volunteers and patients value the chance to share experiences and to support and learn from each other.
Aniket particularly enjoys his role as a volunteer trainer and has assisted in training over 90 volunteers. It’s a hands-on process, making beds together, assisting with mealtime set up, visiting with patients and generally modeling how to interact safely and most effectively . There’s lots of time to sit and discuss concerns and questions the volunteers may have. Aniket especially appreciates the feeling of autonomy that the trainers have and that they are able to be part of the decision-making process in evaluating the comfort and fit of new volunteers for the patient care units.
He also enjoys the feeling of being on a team as the trainers have evolved as a cohesive group and work closely together to develop and refine the training process to support the role of patient care volunteers.
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