Recognising and connecting with our volunteers

Volunteers and team members for the Community Respiratory Service gathered last month (June) for their annual workshop and to recognise the valuable contribution of volunteers during Te Wiki Tūao ā-Motu - National Volunteer Week.

Clinical Nurse Specialist for Community Respiratory Service Louise Weatherall says the theme of the day was to recognise our volunteers, connect with them and look to the future. 

“We looked back at our achievements since we started in 2013 which include a Ministry of Health award for services to Māori, a COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) achievement award from the Respiratory Foundation, articles in the Kai Tiaki nursing journal and a quality award from Canterbury DHB. Of course, all these milestones were celebrated with cake,” says Louise.

The day also covered a review of current respiratory issues including COVID-19 from Respiratory Physician Dr Mike Maze and a practical demonstration and reminder of correct inhaler use from Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist Karen Willsman. 

A highlight of the workshop for support and exercise group volunteer Gary Syme, was how valued their opinions were to the service’s health professionals. 

“Our involvement with improving policies and procedures for people with respiratory issues, helps to make us feel part of a close-knit team. The knowledge we got from the workshop guest speakers was also important, as we can pass this information on to members of our community groups,” says Gary. 

“Our volunteers are part of the team and add real value through their voice, by sharing their stories and experiences and helping us consider service design from a consumer perspective,” says Louise. 

“They help with designing our service, reviewing patient resources, running coffee and exercise groups, and are members of the Integrated Respiratory Service Development Group, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Working Group, as well as the Better Breathing Consumer Group.”

The Better Breathing Consumer Working Group also put together a newsletter, called The Windmill with inspirational consumer stories and useful information for people with breathing issues, which can be found on the CCN website here.

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