At Watford Girls, service to others is at the heart of the school.

With emphasis placed on contributing to both the school and helping the local, national and international community, many of our girls actively take part in various volunteering activities.

As we all know, COVID-19 placed tremendous stress on the NHS. This was when, Zara, who aspires to study medicine, joined the Summer Volunteering Programme at University College London Hospital.

“During June-August 2020, I participated in the Summer Volunteering Programme for University College London Hospital. I volunteered a total of 100 hours and within this time, worked alongside various healthcare professionals in different departments and supported patients.

My placement took place after the initial peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and so I was able to learn more about the impacts that this left on the NHS and key workers, especially within a hospital in the heart of London. Having spoken with nurses and doctors who were frontline workers, I learnt that the outbreak had a detrimental impact on their patients’ and staff’s mental wellbeing and how a pandemic of this magnitude was never expected in their lifetimes. I undertook PPE training offered by the UCLH Trust and was soon able to support COVID patients and even those who had recovered from COVID but still suffered from symptoms as a result of the invasive nature of the virus. Part of my role was to adapt to guidelines in terms of taking temperatures of outpatients on entrance to wards and ensuring that they had no symptoms of the virus.

I was required to demonstrate excellent communication and compassion through befriending patients and supporting their needs. In a time where visitors were not allowed due to government guidelines, it was my responsibility to be someone they could talk to in a friendly manner. This proved beneficial for me also, as someone who aspires to study Medicine, I was able to understand more about various medical conditions and the course of treatments both from the patients’ and the doctors’ perspectives. Volunteering within several multidisciplinary teams and in multiple departments, including A&E, Radiography, Paediatrics, Geriatrics and general inpatient and outpatient wards, gave me an appreciation of the importance of teamwork between professionals.

I have since continued with my volunteering and am administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the priority groups.”

We are proud of you Zara!