Head and shoulders portrait of volunteer nurse Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s story

I’ve been a volunteer nurse on the In-patient Unit at Dorothy House for 24 years. All the nurse volunteers are trained in some kind of nursing – I was a nurse and ward sister years ago.

I help patients with baths and bed baths, showers and I make the beds. I started volunteering when Dorothy House was at Bloomfield Road in Bath. It was lovely there as it was so small – you always knew where everyone was.

After I had a family, I didn’t work. My husband was in the Navy and was away a lot and childcare wasn’t as available then as it is now. Once my children had grown up I found I had the time, and the skills, to volunteer. I come here one morning a week – or longer if I’m needed.

I love the work – this is nursing as it used to be – you’ve got time to listen to the patients and to talk to them and that’s important. The level of care hasn’t changed in 24 years but I think we’ve got better at the palliative side.

Training is ongoing – every year we have to cover manual handling, basic life support (which is First Aid), hygiene and fire training although the last two courses are online so that makes it easier.

I don’t see many other volunteers here – there’s just one volunteer nurse here at any time – so we only get together at organised coffee mornings. But the staff are lovely and really appreciative. I really feel that I’m doing something useful. And you get some lovely feedback from patients and their families.

I hope I can notch up 25 years as a volunteer. It’s only next year but it’s getting more difficult when I get down on to the floor to get back up again. So, fingers crossed.