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  • Writer's pictureSheree Hoddinett

Compassionate Volly Touches Hearts

Jan has been a volunteer with the Caboolture Hospital for more than 20 years. It’s a role that she loves and can’t see herself giving up anytime soon.


If you have ever been to the Caboolture Hospital on a Tuesday, chances are you have crossed paths with long-time volunteer Jan. Every Tuesday for just over 20 years, Jan has been a smiling face for those visiting the hospital, helping people find their way or just giving a friendly wave, as well as assisting departments with little tasks such as putting paperwork together for new babies or even folding little blankets. It’s a role that Jan took on to help ingrain herself in the community that she has now called home for 35 years.


“I’ll keep doing it as long as I can still walk and talk. They might have to bring me in my wheelchair in 10 years’ time but I’ll probably still be here.

It was when her working life came to an end that Jan knew she wanted to do something else with her time.


“When I finished working in Brisbane, I decided I wanted to be more involved in the Caboolture community where I lived,” Jan says. “I kept looking in the newspapers because I knew something would pop up and one day there was an advertisement for a volunteer at Caboolture Hospital.

“I cut it out and stuck it on the fridge where it sat for a couple of months before I thought I’m going to do it. So I rang up and I’ve been volunteering ever since.

“It’s just a part of my life, a good part of course and every Tuesday I come to the hospital and do my bit to help others.”


While no two days are the same, Jan relishes every opportunity to interact with different people including visitors, staff and other volunteers.


“Everyone has a different approach to how they’re feeling and there are times it can be quite a challenging role, but it’s also good for me as well,” Jan says.

“We get to tell people whereabouts they need to go for their appointment. Particularly now while the hospital is being extended, some departments aren't where they used to be. And what was the front of the hospital is now the back of the hospital. So we have to be able to point people in the right direction.


“We also fold up bunny rugs and towels for the maternity department and we also get tea and coffee ready for them in emergency.

“There’s also lots of paperwork to be sorted into folders which are handed out in different departments such as maternity for when you have a baby. So just lots of little things like that to help. Now that Covid has lessened, we're hoping that we'll get back to visiting again, which is always good. Just for people in hospital to see a friendly face who's not medical and who isn’t going to ask them questions.”


For Jan, being able to volunteer comes with so many positive outcomes, but most of all she enjoys talking to others.


“People are really interesting,” she says with a laugh. “It's just interesting to listen to people and know that you're helping them. To see a look of worry about not knowing where they are going change to relief when you point them in the right direction.”


Believe it or not Jan is now 80 (not that she looks or sounds it, mind you!) and she believes the secret behind being able to get out and do things is keeping busy.


“I make sure that we eat well, that we exercise, that we get out in the community and do things,” she says. “My husband is in Rotary, so I do what I can to help there when it needs to be done.

“I also visit a lady in one of the aged care homes because she doesn’t have any family close by. I visit her once a week, she's 97 and sometimes she puts me to shame with what she remembers.”


Volunteering certainly runs in the family line with Jan’s mother also a volunteer until she was 94.


“I grew up in the country and I’ve always been involved in doing things that need to be done in the community,” Jan says. “I just feel it’s quite amazing what a hello and how are you will do to make people feel better.

“When my children (Jan has two sons and now four grandchildren) first went to school I volunteered for Meals on Wheels and I also belonged to a group called the RAAF Women’s Association who raised funds for disadvantaged children. Volunteering is something that comes naturally to me and I feel it’s just part of my life and something I’ve always done.

“I’ll keep doing it as long as I can still walk and talk. They might have to bring me in my wheelchair in 10 years’ time but I’ll probably still be here!”


Jan recommends others take on a volunteering role at the hospital, because along with the positive impact it can have on people’s lives, she has made many new friends along the way. Do you have what it takes to be a volunteer at Caboolture Hospital? Caboolture Hospital executive director Angie Dobbrick said volunteers were valued members of the hospital team and appreciated by patients, visitors and staff.


“We know coming to hospital can be stressful and worrying for patients and visitors,” Angie said. “Our volunteers offer kindness and compassion to help ease that worry for people.

“Staff really appreciate their help as well and look forward to seeing the volunteers come to their areas.”


From welcoming people to the hospital, to lending a hand to new parents in maternity, to feeding the fish in Ward 4A, there is a volunteer role for everyone at Caboolture Hospital. As the hospital is growing quickly, they are looking for more incredible community members to come forward and join as volunteers. This is all coordinated by The Common Good.


The Common Good marketing general manager Chloe Nguyen said the service of volunteers in the hospital could be underestimated.


“The Common Good is delighted to be part of a program that will meet the needs of an expanding hospital and services that better support the growing population of the Moreton Bay Region,” Chloe said. “These are exciting times and we look forward to more volunteers sharing this journey with us.”


If you would like to help your community and meet new people, volunteering at Caboolture Hospital might be just right for you. To find out more about becoming a volunteer, contact Karen on 5433 8634 or email info@thecommongood.org.au.


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