A. A. Voronova, student,
Perm State Medical University,
The purpose. To study personal characteristics of voluntary service members which is a component of modern oncological service.
Method. The method of questionnaire with the use of Google forms was used to conduct the study. The questionnaire was offered to answer to all active volunteers of Palliative Department Perm regional oncology center.
The result. Women aged 18–23 years old studing in non-medical universities are revealed to be the major part of voluntary service Perm state oncology center.
Summary. Volunteering in cancer care is a new, little known type of volunteering. In this regard, it is necessary to develop special methods to attract active people which could contribute to increase the efficiency and quality of oncology care in medical institutions.
The term "volunteer "comes from the French word" volontaire", which came from the Latin"voluntarius", and literally means "a person that wants to volunteer" or "a willing person". Modern dictionaries interpret this term differently. Thus, according to Webster's dictionary, volunteer is a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service . The Russian Federation regulation gives the following definition: "Volunteers are citizens who carry out voluntary activities in the form of gratuitous performance of work and (or) provision of services in the interests of the beneficiary, including in the interests of a charitable organization" .
Voluntary assistance can vary from traditional forms of personal assistance to the corporate efforts of thousands of people that are aimed to overcome the consequences of natural catastrophes, to resolve conflicts, eradicate poverty, etc.
In Russia, volunteering is associated not just with free work but with sacrificial selfless service to weak, sick and poor people. Medical volunteering is one of the most responsible and socially significant types of voluntary service.
Medical voluntary gratuitous assistance is in great demand. Medical stuff, especially nurses, is often too busy with fulfilling their routine work obligations like filling out medical documentation or solving organizational issues. Because of the lack of time, medical staff is not able to handle an individual approach in patients treatment or to devote a little bit more time for talking to patients. In this regard, patients who have been receiving medical treatment in in-patients department for a long time face such problems as a feeling of loneliness, uncertainty in their own recovery, sub depression. Medical volunteers working in hospitals are to solve these problems, especially to organize patients’ leisure and care.
A new independent type of medical volunteering has appeared in recent years. It is named oncological (cancer) medical volunteering. It could be esteemed as a result of developmental processes in delivery of cancer care to the population, increased number of cancer patients and not indifferent people who want to give support.
In order to develop voluntary assistance in cancer departments, to create more comfortable working conditions a questionnaire of existing volunteers was conducted.
According to the results, 100 % of respondents are female of them 47.1 % aged 18 to 23 years, 35.3 % – from 24 to 30 years old, 17.6 % are older than 30 years. 11.8 % of respondents are specialists with secondary medical education. 35.3 % of volunteers started to help in oncological sphere no more than 3 months ago, 17.6 % of respondents volunteer from 3 months to six months, 29.4 % of respondents volunteer from six months to a year and 17.6 % of respondents volunteer for more than a year. 88.6 % of respondents noticed "the desire to help in a difficult life situation" as a decisive moment to start volunteering, 5.9 % said "the desire to know the way people cope with a difficult situation" and 5.9 % of respondents said "survived the loss of a loved one because of cancer and now I want to help others faced with this problem." To the question " Who needs volunteer help most of all in the oncology hospital?"(answers: patients, medical stuff, relatives of patients) respondents noted patients as the most in need of care (first place), relatives of patients are on the second place and medical workers are on the third one. At the same time, 23.5 % of respondents provide assistance to patients at least once in 1–2 weeks, 11.8 % of respondents do it once in 2–4 weeks and 64.7 % of respondents do it rarer. It is important to note that only 23.5 % of respondents experienced feeling of sadness, emptiness after the first volunteer mission, while the emotional recovery after the first volunteer day happened in 70.6 % of respondents.
Based on the results, it can be assumed that the main category of people interested in medical volunteering in oncology sphere is female persons aged 18-23 years, mainly without medical education, while being students of other higher educational institutions. Based on the results, we can assume further ways to attract new people in this type of volunteering.
Thus, medical volunteering in the sphere of oncology can be esteemed as a new dynamically developed area of volunteering, which is needed by both patients and medical staff.
1. Federal law of February 5, 2018 N 15-FZ "On amendments to certain legislative acts of the Russian Federation on volunteering (volunteering)", article 1, part 2, 3; article 5.
2. Merriam Webster’s collegiate dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1993.
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