MEP: Volunteering in a Hungarian hospital

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With the spread of  Co-Vid 19 , it was becoming  imperative that people who hold medical degrees, but have not been practising the medical profession, should volunteer to do so. With the permission of my superiors, I also ventured out to lend a hand and practise, while continuing my university studies.

I spent three days a week per month in the Department of Chronic Internal Medicine. This department treats patients who need long-term hospital stay (there are some who have been here for five years.) The Department consists of two wings, A and B.  At the moment, wing B is the section for quarantine of Co-Vid19 patients for treatment. Several committed medical professionals, working in this hospital, have unfortunately contracted the virus.

The main difficulty for the patients is loneliness, which has been intensified by the visiting ban. Therefore, besides taking the patients’ blood pressure, temperature, and feeding them, my most important task was to listen to them, being attentive, listening actively, and relieving  stress with the help of humour. The nurses also needed a listening and understanding presence, as one of my colleagues noted: ‘Help us to avoid burn out!’  In conversations with the patients and the nursing staff, the issue of faith came up several times. If they expressed a wish to do so, we prayed together. I could be at the side of the dying, telling them: ‘God loves you very much!’ Day by day, I could come home with the feeling that I could practise my profession as a psychology student. One patient told me: ‘Thank you for being so good to me!’ In this extraordinary situation, I am glad to have been able to experience God’s loving presence  through  my interactions with the patients and the staff.

Esther Finis