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1 week to decide if I should pursue this volunteering opportunity?

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Hi I was having some difficulty in deciding whether or not to pursue a volunteering position I've been offered, so I'm looking for some help. Please note that I only have about 1 week, maybe 2 at the most, to decide, so If I could get most of the insight within a week, that would be much appreciated.


A little about me: i'm in my second year, but am somewhat of a mature student (22 yrs old), i'm in arts but applying to science next year at UBC, I take courses at both langara and UBC in Vancouver, I currently volunteer with a mental health group, and will be shadowing an electrophysiologist soon. I also own my own consulting company (although my associates do most of the work, I just do financial). I am waiting to hear back about working as a basketball coach for Drive Basketball. I believe these are all the EC's I have currently. In my past I have volunteered at a Chamber of Commerce, Medical imaging volunteer at hospital, spasticity clinic volunteer at children's hospital, worked as a caregiver, worked at a computer shop, worked at the United Way, volunteered in an atherosclerosis lab, job-shadowed a physiotherapist.


So I have been offered this volunteering position at Vancouver General Hospital at the Banfield Pavilion (residential care facility). It is called "Breakfast Program Assistant". I've copied the pertinent information below:


Purpose of Position:


* To enhance residents’ appetites through the provision of a home style or restaurant meal and to provide opportunities for food choices.


* To promote social interaction with other residents.


Skills or Qualifications required:


* Good interpersonal and communication skills.


* Ability to push wheelchairs.


* An interest in working with seniors and disabled adults.


Duties/ Responsibilities:


On-site breakfast:


* Report to occupational therapy department staff to discuss the scheduled activity or the day’s outing.


* Assist staff in assembling needed items for the program, accompany staff to the assigned floor and assist with set up the area, including arranging tables, laying tablecloths, putting out cutlery, etc.


* Locate and accompany participating residents to the dining area.


* Always sign out a resident on the white board before you leave the Unit. Please include the time, the resident’s full name and where you are taking them (i.e. main floor activity room)


* During the program, assist residents and staff, as directed. This may include serving food and drinks, passing out bibs, cutting larger food items and opening containers for residents, as needed. PLEASE NOTE: many residents have dietary and eating restrictions. Do not assist residents with food or beverages unless you have been directed to do so by staff.


* Socialize with residents – help to make the experience social and enjoyable.


* Escort residents back to their Units when the program ends. Please remember to erase their name from the white board to show they are back on the Unit.


* Assist staff to tidy up the activity area and return equipment and supplies to storage.


Breakfast Outing (once a month):


* Report to occupational therapy department staff to discuss the day’s outing.


* As directed by staff, locate residents scheduled to attend and accompany them to the lobby area in preparation for loading the bus.


* Always sign out a resident in the ‘outings’ binder near the nursing station on the Unit before you leave the Unit. Please include the date, time, OT Breakfast Outing under the ‘accompanied by’ column, Volunteer under ‘relationship to person’ column, and AW Cell Phone under the ‘Phone Contact Number’ column.


* Socialize with residents as staff load residents onto the bus. Volunteers may only assist with loading residents onto the bus under direct supervision of staff.


* During the ride, socialize with residents. Help to make the trip enjoyable and interesting.


* At the restaurant, assist staff to escort residents inside and get seated around the table. Assist residents with reading the menus and making meal selections. Note: staff must be consulted regarding food allergies or other diet concerns before ordering.


* Staff will cover the cost of the volunteer’s breakfast.


* When food arrives, volunteers may be asked to cut up food items, place straws in glasses, put jam on toast, etc. Volunteers also socialize with residents throughout.


* At the end of the meal, escort residents back to the bus.


* Once back at Banfield, escort resident back to their Unit and sign them in using the ‘outings’ binder near the nursing station. Please write your name under the ‘Sign-In Upon Return’ column and the time you returned the resident to the Unit.


Supervising Staff Person: Activity Workers


Shift Days /Times: Tuesdays/ Wednesdays: 8:00 am – 9:30am


Fridays: On-site 8:15 – 9:30 am and outing 8:15 am – 11:30 am



I believe this opportunity is at least once a week. Here are some of the pros and cons I could think of.



-seems to have large social interaction component with patients

-volunteering with major canadian hospital (affliated pavilion)

-potential free meal lol



-shifts seem short (1.5ish hours weekly, but 3.3ish hours once a month)

-not much responsibility

-don't seem to interact much with medical personnel (except activity workers)

-aside from the psychosocial perspective, you don't seem to learn much about medicine, as much as say, x-ray room volunteer, or spasticity clinic volunteer.



I am looking forward to hear any and all opinions about my assessment and other people's assessments. Thanks!

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i think the experience of being able to work well with patients is probably more important than learning medical things at this point. It seems like a good start, and like you said its only an hour or so a week, so unless you have better things to do you might as well stick with it. Who knows, maybe the people there will like and offer you a job, or a position with more responsibility. Gotta start somewhere :P

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I agree. 1-2 hours a week will not hinder your schedule with school/other EC's. If you have a solid schedule planned out and it works, give it a shot. I've been doing a similar position as a mealtime assistant in a complex care facility, which has recently lead to a new volunteer position. I took the opportunity to have sit-down with the volunteer coordinator and they pretty much hooked me up since I've been there for quite a while. I'll be assisting a PT with the same patients (I'm a 4th yr kine major in ON) and with the possibility of incorporating a research project on physical activity interventions. 

I had no idea what to expect when accepting my position as a mealtime volunteer, but hey, you never know who you'll meet, and the opportunities that will come up. 

Take it to improve patient interaction, and oral communication competency. You will become a medical expert once you're in medical school.  :) 


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