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Student’s rewarding experience volunteering for St John

June 10, 2020

Student’s rewarding experience volunteering for St John

SALLY CARKEEK ON THE JOB. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.

Volunteers are an essential part of St John and their contribution helps thousands of Kiwis every year.

Sally Carkeek is a third-year paramedicine student at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) who volunteers as a St John Event Medic in her spare time.

“I absolutely love it… I’m still using all the skills that I learnt at university so I have gained so much experience in the practical side of it,” said Ms Carkeek.

She finds her job incredibly rewarding.

“People always say you’re working for St John, you must be seeing such horrific things, and yes that’s part of it but the ones that stick with me are the ones with human connections,  where I’ve made a bond with a patient.

“My favourite part is actually when the kids say, whoa Mum, look an ambulance!”

“I ask them if they’d like to take a look around and show them inside so that they know if they ever need to be in an ambulance, they’re not scared of it.”

She has been volunteering for more than a year at events like concerts, car races and school sports.

It has made her more aware of adjusting her communication style in different situations.

“If a kid is hurt, you can’t just treat them, you have to make them feel okay, that everything is going to be okay.

“Talking to parents who are worried, it’s just learning a whole new type of communication.”

She’s looking forward to working as a paramedic.

“The only thing that people will remember is when you take away their pain and how you made them feel.”

St John relies on thousands of volunteers a year, with three volunteers to every one paid employee.

National Volunteer Week runs from 21-27 June to celebrate the 1.2 million volunteers who have helped New Zealand throughout the years.

This year’s theme is ‘Te Hua o te Mahi Tahi I: The benefit of working together’, which may resonate with many in the current pandemic climate.

Volunteer roles vary from those on the frontline to community services like the health shuttles, caring caller service and op shops.

Certificates will be presented at morning teas and other functions during National Volunteer Week to recognise the contributions of volunteers.

You can find more information about the volunteer roles here.

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