Medical student ‘grateful’ for volunteer role at QE

A former volunteer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead is looking forward to a bright future in healthcare – after his experience helping his local NHS helped him to secure a place in medical school.

Rayhan Herath spent nearly a year helping out NHS staff as a volunteer for Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust. He applied to study medicine at Newcastle University and was thrilled to be offered a place, starting September this year.

Rayhan says: “I am very grateful to the QE for offering me the opportunity to volunteer as it certainly scored me some points throughout the entire selection process. Medicine offers everything I want in a career. I enjoy the lifetime of learning and personal development of skills that it provides. I also find great satisfaction in being able to use these skills for the good cause of helping people.”

“I really enjoyed my time volunteering as I found it both useful and satisfying. I developed so many interpersonal skills and experience, which made me a stronger candidate for university applications. I also found great pleasure in working alongside the friendly healthcare team and helping the patients.”

“I volunteered every Friday. As a response volunteer, I was given a pager, which would direct me to do admin jobs around the hospital, such as delivering patient notes and collecting medicines from the pharmacy. As a patient experience volunteer, I was sent onto the wards to offer a helping hand to the healthcare team and support the patients. This could be simply by talking to patients, giving out refreshments or restocking the PPE.

“I gained so much valuable work experience from being on wards, talking to staff and patients and getting a feel for what goes on inside a hospital. This was extremely helpful for my application for medicine as I was able to get an insight into a doctor’s working environment and I discussed this in my interviews.”

Judith Curry, patient experience and volunteer manager at Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Congratulations and well done to Rayhan – we’re thrilled that he’s won a place to study medicine and we wish him every success in his future career.

“We’re beyond grateful to him for donating his time and support to help his local NHS. All of our volunteers are absolutely amazing and we cannot thank them enough for all the support they offer Gateshead NHS. They add value and enhance the experience for our patients, as well as providing a source of vital support to our staff.

“Rayhan’s experience illustrates that volunteering is special because you offer your time and skills and, in return, you get the rewarding feeling of helping others as well as experience to add to your CV.”

If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact Judith Curry, patient experience and volunteer manager. Email judith.curry@nhs.net or telephone 0191 445 2343.

Find out more about volunteering