Allison, Ward Host

Allison Brandt started volunteering as a Ward Host on the wards in April, and was part of the first volunteer group to work in the new Morgan Stanley Clinical Building, the first part of the Mittal Children's Medical Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

What prompted you to want to volunteer for the hospital?

"When my husband and I first moved to London, we began to hear about Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) via friends, television and articles we read. We were both touched by not only the level of care and commitment of the hospital, doctors and surgeons, but also by the ground-breaking research and procedures that are carried out each day."

What is your volunteer’s role?

"I am a Ward Host on the neurosciences ward (Koala Ward) in the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building. Our duties on Koala Ward are varied.

"Firstly, we assist patients and families when they arrive on the ward. We check to see if their bed is available right away and if not, we get them comfortable in the reception area while they wait. We are in charge of the access cards to the ward and issue them to parents, as well as follow up on their numbers and whereabouts for the main office. We often assist the nursing staff with running files or guiding patients to their next appointment. When patients are discharged, we often assist them to their transport.

"We are there for emotional support when parents receive both good and not-so-good news. We even make them tea and toast. In general we monitor the reception area on the ward. Our duties vary daily which always makes it an interesting day!"

What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the hospital?

"There are so many things, and depending on how our day goes, I discover new things each time I go in. I suppose my favourite things are getting to liaise with children and parents. There are so many things going on for these families once they find themselves at GOSH, that it’s great when you can actually help them with something. Whether it is simple directions, seeing them through to appointments or even offering sympathetic support if they receive bad news – anything we can do to help is meaningful."

What would you say to other people thinking about volunteering at the hospital?

"Everyone has something to offer! No matter what you do for a living or career, you can always be of help. There are many roles for volunteers at GOSH and you will find your niche. The rewards far exceed anything you can imagine."