Dewsbury teenager Yasmin Khanagha is using her role as one of our local hospital’s youngest-ever volunteers to forge a career in medicine.
The 18 year-old from the Halifax Road area is finding out exactly what departments as diverse as maternity and A&E do. But more importantly she is learning how to speak confidently to patients who are sometimes at their lowest ebb.
The former Heckmondwike Grammar School student said: “I wasn’t sure about talking to people until I started volunteering. I love the sciences and passed my A ‘Levels but wasn’t mentally ready for university.”
Her year out volunteering – which includes one day per week guiding patients around the hospital and another serving in the Ridings Centre Café - has boosted her self-belief and won over her customers and her peers.
Local man Tom (not his real name) was certainly glad of Yasmin’s support recently. Attending Dewsbury and District Hospital for his first-ever blood transfusion, he said: “I was worried about car parking and where I had to go, but she sorted me out. All of the volunteers on the desk are very helpful.” A young dad from Dewsbury added: “She was really helpful and provides a great service. It can be difficult to navigate around the hospital but there’s always someone there to show you.”
Yasmin said: “I always try and remember that some of the people who talk to me might be visiting very poorly family or have even had someone who has passed away. I try to see life from their point of view and stand in their shoes. I don’t ask too many questions, I am just there for them and listen to them.”
There are a number of roles volunteers can perform with The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust – from guide at Dewsbury Hospital to newspaper deliverer on the wards at Pinderfields. Vikki Padgett, Voluntary Services Manager at The Trust said: “How savvy of Yasmin to use work experience to help create a career for herself. I am sure that when she goes for interviews, that time she has had with patients is going to stand her in great stead and put her ahead of other candidates. The majority of our volunteers are older people – and that’s great – but we would like to see some more younger faces, too.”
Yasmin also gives of her free time to talk to older folks at the Locala Community Health Centre in Dewsbury town centre and is currently helping children write, direct and star in films as part of a Thornhill Lees Library and Information Centre project. She admits that not many of the young people she knows volunteer, but thinks it will help her build her skills and confidence. She also believes working with older people breaks down barriers. “What they say interests me and I hope I interest them” said Yasmin, “and while we are different, what we learn about each other makes us stronger.”
Find out more about volunteering by contacting the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust firstname.lastname@example.org