Ana M Angarita, CNHC registered
Complementary Therapist- MacMillan Centre
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
“Would I want to work in a hospital?” - That was the first question that crossed my mind when I initially thought about volunteering as a complementary therapist.
I thought long and hard about it and then decided to apply for a volunteering vacancy with the Macmillan Centre in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which I saw advertised in the CNHC website.
Working as a volunteer is very rewarding. I help the patients live with cancer by trying to improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
There is no typical day as a complementary therapist volunteer. Every day is different. I work with the patients, their family members and their carers. My work is based either in the wards or in the Macmillan Centre therapy room.
Each patient is unique. Each patient is important to me. There are more smiles and laughs than you think!
You get to know the patients and work alongside the medical team. What matters here is seeing the patient as a whole.
Seeing satisfied patients, carers and family is so rewarding! Nice compliments give you the energy and motivation to come back week after week.
Hospitals are not as cold and clinical as some people think. They are full of human stories, they are busy places where there is always something happening.
At the end of a busy day, I leave with a sense of achievement. It’s like when you set yourself a personal goal at the gym and then after a lot of hard work and determination, you see the results.
The experience I’ve gained is invaluable. Each patient has taught me a lot and each patient is an inspiration to me.
Not only do you learn about other people’s life journeys but you learn about yourself.
I also work in the private sector but nothing compares to the sense of fulfilment of helping somebody facing cancer.
I’m a volunteer and I’m not here for money. I am here because I want to be here.
Now, I know that I love hospitals. I love Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and I love volunteering.