Marissa Wallace, WHSCT
I volunteered in the Care of the Elderly Ward in Altnagelvin for around 6 months. This was to gain some experience of working within a clinical setting. As well as helping me secure a place to study Medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, it started me on my journey of knowing how to interact with other members of staff and most importantly, with patients.
I think a lot of students lose sight of the perhaps obvious fact that we are dealing with sick patients. When in hospital people are often at their most vulnerable, often with worries for what will happen and for their family that they are not with as well as the illness that takes a toll on their body. Chronically shy at first I didn’t know how to go about it. I observed how the staff interacted with these patients and tried to take it all in. And then over time, I learned through my experiences how to interact and to provide some comfort to these people through something as simple as a cup of tea and a conversation. I was able to understand just how many people were involved in looking after the patients and was able to solidify my decision to become a part of that team. I really do believe it better prepared me for the path I was about to take in training to become a medical doctor.