Volunteer Voices - Nick Hemmings
Hi, I'm Nick and I'm a Volunteer Vaccinator. I've been volunteering since January as part of the Vaccination Programme at Oakley Road.
You'll notice that I'm also a member of Hampshire Search and Rescue (HANTSAR). As Medical Lead for HANTSAR, I have also been coordinating training and scheduling behind the scenes so that we can continue to support the demand each week with members of our medical team in all three mass vaccinations centres across Hampshire. When I'm not volunteering with HANTSAR or at the vaccination centre, my full time job is as a Senior Manager running large scale transformation programmes for Royal Mail.
In addition to the vaccinators, HANTSAR has provided resources everyday in Oakley Road to undertake roles from clinical assessments, reception, meet and greet, stewarding through to post-vaccination observations. Maintaining all of this, whilst still being on call 24/7 to respond to requests from Hampshire Constabulary to search for high risk missing people, has been challenging at times but we have absolutely delivered in terms of our core role and the additional support at the vaccination centres. As a medical team within HANTSAR, our primary role focuses on pre-hospital care and casualty extrication, so it has been very beneficial to widen existing skill sets.
The welcome from the Clinical Team at the Oakley Road vaccination centre was exceptional, and we were soon greeted for our shifts as old friends. Overall the vaccination role has been hugely rewarding and the team have really enjoyed working alongside healthcare professionals and in the later stages, other volunteers and paid staff from different backgrounds.
Additionally, we have been able to raise the profile of HANTSAR and increase awareness of the work we do. Through this, we've even had conversations with prospective new members so all-in-all it's been a great experience. Whilst being part of the same UKSAR team as Mountain Rescue, we rarely get to share the content of our work in the same way due to the nature of the searches (despondent/suicidal, dementia/Alzheimer's, mental health, criminal acts etc) and the need for people to rebuild their lives in privacy afterwards.
We've built upon our professional image and demonstrated our capability, as well as undoubtedly forging friendships into the future.
If you see a red shirt don't forget to wave and say hello!