Retired nurse returns to help

Former nurse Terry retired with dreams of giving back.

His former workplace was the perfect fit.

The long-time rehabilitation nurse worked at the Hampstead Rehabilitation Centre for nearly a decade until retiring in 2022. Before that he nursed for 19 years at Semaphore’s St Margaret’s Hospital.

“I worked in rehabilitation all my nursing career. There’s a joy in working with patients who have experienced something significant and life altering and watching them be able to return home, albeit often in a different way,’ the father-of-three says.

Now he’s back at Hampstead, this time helping out with all aspects of operation of Hampstead’s café/kiosk.

“My intention was always to do some volunteer work during retirement,” he says.

“And being a former nurse, I wanted to do something different so I chose to work in Hampstead’s café.”

Terry volunteers at least 2 days every week in the café, which is predominantly staffed by volunteers with all money raised donated to a healthcare charity. He often comes in on other days to relive other volunteers and assist in hospital events.

“Being in the café is great opportunity to talk to people,” Terry says.

“You get to meet with the patients and families from all the different wards.”

Volunteers provide invaluable support to Central Adelaide patients and staff. More than 30 volunteers provide a range of services at Hampstead, including helping people navigate their way around, providing laundry services, spending time with patients and fundraising.

Terry says the café offers patients – who can stay for extended periods during their rehabilitation – an opportunity to have a change of scene.

“I think it gives patients a bit of normality, it’s somewhere for them to go during their time in hospital.

“They can be a bit restricted to where they can go so coming to the café gives them an opportunity to leave the ward and talk to other people.

“There are people who have come in and had a good laugh with me and they’ve left the cafe and they are still laughing so they keep coming back. That’s a nice feeling.”

Hampstead volunteer coordinator Eamon Chaplain says Terry’s nursing background shines through during his interactions with patients and their families.

“Many of the people who use the café are often facing pretty dramatic changes, so having volunteers who are able to talk about that with them and be conscious of that experience is really valuable,” Eamon says.

“With his nursing background Terry can talk with a patient in a way that you don’t often get without that experience which is wonderful for the patients, and it always makes them feel like they have been listened to which they really appreciate.”

“The amount of laughter that you hear just coming out of the café is wonderful and creates a really nice atmosphere for patients, families and the staff.”

Eamon says Terry’s generous gift of time is invaluable.

“Terry really goes above and beyond assisting in all aspects of running the café and helping out.”

CALHN is celebrating the invaluable contribution of our 320 volunteers during National Volunteer’s Week (20-26 May).

During National Volunteers Week we are hosting a series of events to show our gratitude to our volunteers who generously donate their time to support and assist our patients and staff.

The impact of our volunteers across every part of our organisation is far reaching. Not only do they provide a friendly welcome at the entrances to our main hospitals, but they also offer companionship and support, a cup of tea, assistance with essential administrative duties, and provide personal items and clothing for patients.

Our volunteers also make an incredible impact through their fundraising efforts, allowing our programs to purchase equipment and items to improve the amenity of patient areas.

Thank you to our CALHN volunteers, we couldn’t do what we do without you!