A day in the life of a non-clinical volunteer
“I’m not clinically trained, how much help can I be at a vaccination centre?”
“This was my first thought when I was asked if I could volunteer four hours of my time at the COVID-19 vaccination centre at Norwich Community Hospital on a boiling hot day in early June.
“Turns out, the answer is actually quite a lot! I was welcomed into the centre by a friendly volunteer called Diana, who showed me the layout of the building, including where the toilets and kitchen were, and where I could store my things in a locker. I was working with three other ‘admin’ volunteers (staff who are not clinically trained), two security guards and the vaccinators; and together we gathered for a briefing with the clinical lead in charge of the centre for that day. He ran through a checklist and made sure we all knew what the process would be, and that we were doing second doses of AstraZeneca that day. I was assigned to the front door – Meet and Greet/Front of House!
“At 8:45am we put on our ‘Hello, my name is….’ badges and opened the door to the first few people. I took their temperatures using a forehead thermometer (on which I had a quick lesson before I started), asked people attending if they had any COVID-19 symptoms, asked them to sanitise their hands and then directed them through to my volunteer colleagues who would check them in on the computer system. From there, they went through to another volunteer to be seated in the waiting area ready for receiving their vaccination.
“After about an hour, the queue started to get a bit bigger, so I went outside and thanked everyone for their patience. We were able to get a steady stream of people through the door, but we had to hold every so often as you can only fit 12 people in the waiting area. Nikki, the volunteer in the waiting area section of the centre, would let me know when she was ready for another few people to come through, and so I would only let that number in. That way we prevented people queueing in the centre to allow for social distancing.
“The end of my four hour shift came quickly, and I must say I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It was great to meet all the people who came through the door, and to be able to contribute to the COVID-19 vaccination programme in a small way.
“I will definitely be volunteering again, and I’d urge my NCH&C non-clinical colleagues to do the same! If you can spare any time at all, please check with your line manager for permission first and then contact the vaccination team to sign up!”
Miranda Gretton, Marketing & Communications Officer at NCH&C