Volunteer with Us
Volunteer your time and expertise to help APHN today! Our volunteers play an important role in helping to support and enhance our daily operations. We have both regular and ad-hoc volunteer roles for you to get involved in!
Head on over to our page on Giving.sg to view our volunteer opportunities.
If you have other ideas for your involvement, do not hesitate to email us at [email protected]!
- Different facets of a doctor - research, learner, clinician
- Skills - video making, editing, administrative things such as excel functions
- Knowledge - attend palliative care webinars, learning more about ACP, wound management etc. (saw these in real life while volunteering in hospice - theory put to test in real situations / real patients)
- Research - Quality of Death and Dying, APPROACH studies (continuous process, always improving on previous literature)
As a student awaiting to enter University, I wanted to make full use of my time exploring the healthcare industry. Having worked at a clinic previously, I was looking to find a different experience which would allow me to discover the other facets of healthcare, especially in the area of palliative care. It was then I was introduced to the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) by the Lien Foundation. Over my 4 months here, I had the opportunity to sharpen and learnt new skills as well as gain knowledge about palliative care in the Asia Pacific region. I was tasked to assist in several administrative works and the rebranding of APHN’s Youtube channel. Admittedly, video making is not my specialty. However, I took this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. With the constructive feedback from my colleagues, I soon became better at making videos and learned how to be concise in my wordings, consistent in the style of my videos and engaging at the same time. Furthermore, as I had to use Excel spreadsheets quite a bit, I was exposed to the many different useful functions of Excel which I would not have otherwise known. These learnings would certainly be useful in the future!
As an intern, I was presented with many opportunities to attend APHN’s exclusive training sessions and webinars for palliative care doctors. While the training sessions had many medical terms which I could not quite grasp, I still learnt a lot and cherished the opportunity to listen to renowned palliative care physicians in the Asia Pacific region. As I was volunteering at Assisi Hospice while interning at APHN, I could see the theory learnt in these training sessions put into practice at Assisi. For instance, there was a training session where I learnt how to manage bed sores. At Assisi, I saw the different degrees of bed sores presented in patients and how the nurses manage them. It was meaningful to be able to see how theoretical knowledge is being put into practice in clinical settings. On top of learning medical knowledge, my view of the palliative care scene has also been enhanced. I got to tune in to webinars conducted by palliative care physicians and read books about the development of palliative care not just in Singapore, but in the world. I even had the opportunity to listen to Dr Finkelstein, a well-known economist, present his research paper “A Cross Country Comparison of the Quality of Death and Dying, 2021”.
Many people would think that doctors are just clinicians and their job is to treat and cure patients from their illnesses. But what I learnt during my internship is that doctors are not just clinicians. They also take on different hats such as researchers and learners. They embark on research projects and are also continuously learning and keeping up with the different medical advancements. Also, they are not always there to treat and cure people. In palliative care, their goal is to provide comfort and let their patients live and leave with dignity.
All in all, I really enjoyed my internship here - it was insightful and it would not have been possible without my supportive colleagues (and they are non-healthcare professionals - not all in the healthcare industry must be healthcare professionals!) who provided me with constant guidance and presented me with many opportunities to discover more about palliative care.
My favourite quote about palliative care is from Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of palliative care, “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life”
- Ms Jacqueline Tan (2022 Intern)
When looking for healtchare related volunteer activities, many would usually apply to old folks homes, voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) or hospitals. I was probably one of those who tried to find volunteering opportunities in such places but failed to receive replies. Perhaps they had more than enough volunteers? Thankfully, after A Levels, I had the privilege of coming across the APHN.
As a volunteer, I get to engage in a myriad of activities. I was tasked with the responsibility of sieving out articles to be posted on the website, as well as creating a video for the Asia Pacific Hospice Conference. While helping out in responsibilities, I get to learn a lot more through reading news of palliative care around the world. I even had the chance to sit in a talk about Advanced Care Planning!
I also participated in events from one of APHN’s member organisations. At a day hospice that admits patients who have less than 6 months to live, I found myself nodding continually for an hour while speaking to an uncle. As he spoke, he held my hand firmly, telling me stories of his daughter. I could not fully comprehend all he said, but I was touched at the heartwarming gesture of him holding my hand. I was also given the opportunity to test my spontaneity where I had to organize impromptu games for a birthday party. It was a little overwhelming when I thought about how each of the patients in the party is already aware that this may be their last birthday celebration. But this was also what made the volunteering experience so much more meaningful – it made me want to offer my best to each patient that I interact with.
Prior to volunteering for APHN, I knew nothing about palliative care. What piqued my interest and eventually led me to volunteer is the fact that it helps to reconcile the limitations of medicine. Despite medical advancements today, medicine ultimately reaches its limits when no cure is available. During my time volunteering, I gained greater insight into palliative care. I feel that I have gained much more than I would if I have volunteered in other VWOs or did attachments in hospitals. I have matured as a person, relooked at my view towards death. Ultimately, I experienced first-hand what it really means “to cure sometimes, to relieve often and to comfort always.
As cliché as it sounds, I definitely received more than I gave. I would really really recommend all juniors to volunteer with APHN!!! Just remember to go with an open mind, and you will gain immensely from the experience.
– By Ms Dorothy Lim (*Dorothy was accepted into National University of Singapore, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2015) (Article edited by APHN Assistant Manager, Joyce Chee)