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Volunteer Paula receives long service medal after 20 years at the RD&E

Volunteer Paula McConnell has received a Royal Voluntary Service Long Service Award to mark 20 years of dedicated service at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. 

Paula, from Budleigh Salterton, has volunteered in the Orthopaedic Outpatients department at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre (PEOC) since October 1997 when the building first opened until late last year when she retired due to ill health.

She volunteered at the hospital as a member of the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), one of the largest volunteer organisations in the country, which offers support for older people.  

Throughout her time at PEOC, Paula has become an important and valued part of the orthopaedic team. As well as welcoming patients and visitors to the department, Paula played a key role in helping people to find their way to their clinic appointments, helping to take the stress out of a hospital appointment.   

Helen Pierce, PEOC Orthopaedic Outpatients Sister, said: “The support and friendship Paula has given us in outpatients over the years has been invaluable. Having that extra pair of eyes to look out patients has been such a help to us and she will be missed.”

Paula was recently presented with her Long Service Award medal and certificate by RD&E Senior Nurse for Patient Experience Lisa Vogwill. She was also joined by RVS co-ordinator June Harry and friends, staff and volunteer colleagues from the Orthopaedic Outpatients department to celebrate her achievement.

On receiving her award Paula explained that one of the most important parts of her volunteer role at the RD&E has been about caring for people: “I think it’s a really important job. Devon is a very rural community and for many people, especially for the older generation, coming into Exeter to hospital is a big deal and people can be very afraid. We’re there as a friendly face to welcome them and put them at ease.”  

June Harry, RVS co-ordinator, added:  “Paula has been a loyal RVS volunteer in PEOC for over 20 years with her dedicated service to patients and staff during this time.  She is a strong advocate for the role volunteering has, even encouraging her neighbour to enrol with the RVS.  She will be sorely missed by myself as RVS co-ordinator now that she has decided to retire.”

To find out more about volunteering at the RD&E visit our volunteering pages.

Added 16th January 2018

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