Student Volunteering Week: Cara Robb

13th February 2024

This week we are celebrating student volunteers and the valuable addition they make to the Music in Hospitals & Care community. We spoke to Cara Robb, a student who recently volunteered with our Music Delivery team in Scotland.

What did you get involved with while you were volunteering?

I volunteered for Music in Hospitals & Care as part of my “Agents of Change” service learning for my ScotGEM Graduate Medicine degree.

As a volunteer, I attended a session that was part of a live music pilot taking place in the Children’s Ward at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy. This pilot was introducing the concept of “music in a personal space”, which involves the musician playing for each patient individually. I shadowed a musician and experienced the positive impact of the live music on the patients, their families, and staff members at the hospital.

While at the hospital, I gathered feedback from family members and hospital staff, and over the course of my time with Music in Hospitals & Care, I contacted and met with hospital staff and members of the charity to ask their opinions on the impact of live music on the children at Victoria Hospital.

I wrote an Impact and Insight Report for the charity based on my experience. This outlined the differences between “music in a communal area” which involves the musician playing for a group and “music in a personal space” which involves the musician going around the ward and playing for each patient and whomever is present with the patient; the impact of this new style “music in a personal space” in the Children’s Ward on the patients, their family members/carers and staff; a “considerations and improvements” section and a section where I detailed how I captured the impact. I also presented my impact and insight findings as a PowerPoint presentation to the whole charity at an online team meeting at the end of my placement.

What skills did you gain?

I really developed my organisation and time management skills over the course of my time with Music in Hospitals & Care. I outlined and stuck to a schedule for when I would connect with people and meet my deadlines for the charity and for the elements due for my course. This allowed me to finish everything in time to gain feedback before presenting my findings, which was very valuable.

I gained vital presentation and communication skills. Speaking with patients and their families at the hospital was eye-opening as this provided insight into their personal struggles and worries, as well as the benefits of the music. Communicating with hospital staff also gave a great insight into the benefits of the music on the patients and also on themselves. Contacting hospital staff and charity members online was initially a challenge, but with support from the charity I felt much more comfortable in reaching out and meeting with different people.

Aside from skills, I also gained such a great insight into the amazing work that Music in Hospitals & Care does for the community. I was so impressed by such a brilliant charity filling in this gap in healthcare that improves the health and wellbeing of so many people.

Would you recommend volunteering for Music in Hospitals & Care to others?

I would absolutely recommend volunteering for Music in Hospitals & Care! The whole team are very welcoming and were more than happy to chat to me about their roles and share their experiences, which helped me a lot in writing my report.

Everyone was also happy to and great at giving both positive and helpful constructive feedback throughout and after my time with the charity.

Something that really stood out to me about Music in Hospitals & Care is that everyone who works for the charity truly cares about and believes in the work they are doing. They are so passionate about the importance of live music and the positive impact it has on those experiencing it. It was a joy and an honour to volunteer for them, and I would recommend this to anyone interested in music and/or healthcare!

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