Holly’s Grove House volunteering leads to career change

WHEN Holly Guest graduated two years ago from St Hilda’s College, Oxford, with a degree in History and English, she never imagined that Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice was about to become somewhere she would work as a volunteer.

For on holiday in Germany soon after graduation, Holly finally realised what she wanted to do with her life – she wanted to become a doctor.

She said: “When I went up to Oxford, studying medicine was the furthest thing from my mind. As I had a few friends who were studying graduate medicine, who like me had done their first degree in an entirely different subject, I became more and more interested in what they were doing and finally realised that I too wanted to become a doctor.“

But before even applying to medical school Holly needed to gain the necessary experience to stand any chance of being considered as a candidate with the right qualifications. As all her A-levels were in arts subjects, the first thing Holly gained was an A-level in chemistry which she achieved in just nine months at Oaklands College.

It was during this time she got in touch with Wendy Burns, volunteer coordinator at Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care, to see whether they required any volunteers in the day hospice.

Wendy said: “We have all kinds of voluntary roles on offer at Grove House so when Holly came for her interview with a view to giving us some of her time, it just so happened that we had a vacancy in the day hospice. As a prospective medical student, we were able to give Holly the perfect opportunity to interact with patients and to experience at first hand the workings of a hospice.”

After two years of volunteering at Grove House as well as working in health research and sitting medical school aptitude tests, Holly has finally got the news she has been waiting for – she will start a graduate medicine course at Southampton University in September.

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Holly went on: “My experience as a volunteer in the day hospice has been so enriching and has made me even more determined to become a doctor. In fact since coming to work at Grove House, palliative care is an area of medicine that I am particularly interested in.

“To have had the opportunity to get to know the Wednesday patients and to have shared the special time I have had with them in such a wonderful environment, is something I will never forget.”

For further information about volunteering at Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care contact Wendy Burns on 01727 731020.