Heidi volunteered with Betsi Cadwaladr Robins volunteer scheme in order to get experience. Now she is on her way to becoming a qualified midwife.
Heidi, 29 years old and mother of two daughters, is currently in her second year of a midwifery course at Bangor University. It has been a long journey to get where she is today.
HOW THE JOURNEY BEGAN
Back in 2018, Heidi met a PACE (Parents, Childcare and Employment) advisor, by chance, at a slimming meeting. She suggested that Heidi become a Robin Volunteer at Ysbyty Gwynedd, in order to gain some experience. Heidi says ‘Glenda helped me step out of my comfort zone’.
Heidi met the Robins Volunteer Coordinator who helped her with the paperwork and by January 2019 she was volunteering on Llifon Ward – the maternity ward.
A TYPICAL DAY ON THE WARD
Her day as a volunteer started at 9 am taking patients a welcome cup of tea or coffee and helping with breakfast trays and lunch menus. Heidi learnt how to make up a hospital bed in the proper fashion ‘It’s all about the folds!’
The rest of the shift involved sitting and chatting with patients, supporting new mums and doing other non-clinical duties and finishing around 3 pm and this was done twice a week. ‘I always looked forward to my volunteer days, it was the highlight of my week.
The ward staff knew that Heidi had a keen interest in midwifery and took time to talk through with her what they were doing, how they were doing it and why.
VOLUNTEER TO CAREER
Heidi soaked up all the advice and experience and decided to undertake an access to higher education in health care course. She then applied to the University of Bangor, starting her degree course in midwifery in September 2021. Over 1,000 potential students apply for the course every year but only around 40 are accepted. Heidi is sure that having direct experience on a maternity ward was significant in getting her a place on the course. ‘I don’t think I would have got into university without my Robin volunteer experience’.
FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
In 2022, Heidi was nominated by her ward colleagues for the Royal College of Midwives’ Caring For You Hero Award. And she won!
Heidi said: ‘Building a bond with a mum is a vital and imperative part of my role as a trainee midwife. You start the day as strangers but end with a strong, supportive bond. I love seeing the new mums with their new or extended family. It’s a precious feeling supporting all our patients on the ward no matter their reason for being there.
‘Don’t get me wrong, some days are definitely tougher than others, but I love my job and can’t wait to qualify as a midwife in July 2024.
‘However, I always remind myself where my journey started and that was as a Robin Volunteer. Robins are a breath of fresh air for the wards they support and I am so grateful for everything I learnt during my time as a volunteer.’
ABOUT HELPFORCE CYMRU
Helpforce Cymru is working with Third Sector Support Wales (WCVA and the 19 County Voluntary Councils), Welsh Government and other partners to develop the potential of volunteering to support health and social care services in Wales.
We are grateful to Betsi Cadwaladr UHB for permission to publish Heidi’s story.