TRF’s Volunteer of the Month for June is palliative nurse Edmar San Jose Elcarte.
Q&A with EDMAR
How did you come to volunteer for TRF?
My application as a volunteer of TRF was an accident. I remembered that day when I simply accompanied my best friend, AJ Amores to the TRF office to visit his friends. I was very curious about TRF and why it exists. After a few minutes in the TRF office, Nurse Badette and Miss Leng entered the room. AJ introduced me to them and we talked. Nurse Badette asked me, “Do you want to become volunteer of TRF?”. And I just answered her with a smile (I’m was actually just waiting for someone to invite me to join TRF, mostly out of curiosity) and this was the start of my journey as a volunteer of The Ruth Foundation. A blessing in disguise.
What were your expectations as a volunteer?
As a student and a youth leader molded by previous volunteer work, I did not have any expectations. For me, it is nicer not to expect because it just disappoints you if your expectations are unmet. I believe that life is full of surprises and mysteries. Expect the unexpected. Indeed, being a volunteer is not about what is expected, but it is all about what I can give and sacrifice even if there is nothing in return. It is not about the fame nor the recognition I can get, but what is more important is the smile on my patient’s face. I will just do whatever the work entails, as long as I am capable then I will give. Expect less. Do more.
Describe the activities you volunteered for, and why did you choose them?
I am volunteering as a palliative nurse doing home visits, documentation and office work. This sort of work makes me happy and productive. I really enjoyed doing home visits, especially while interviewing the patient, doing nursing care and making individualized nursing care plans for each patient. On the other hand, I also love doing office work because I am a perfectionist and a time-bound person. This makes me more productive in my free time after work and for other personal responsibilities. Moreover, I chose to volunteer for TRF to help individuals journeying in the terminal stages of their lives. As the head of hemodialysis unit, I am already well versed in the situations of patients with terminal conditions like Chronic Kidney Disease. Their experiences, family connections, emotions, and problems in finances. And this also motivates me to become a volunteer.
What are your key reflections/lessons? How has the experience changed your life?
Inspite of being a newbie, I had a great experience that was priceless. It is more about my self worth being a nursing professional and my inner happiness as a son of God. Maybe this is my perfect time to pay back for the blessings I had this past years. I hope through TRF, I can reach more who really need my help as a friend or even a brother. TRF helped me to realize that, wellness is beyond happiness and freedom from illness. It is more about the dimensional balance of a person in his physical-psychological-socioeconomical-and-spiritual wellbeing. At the end of every home visits there are learnings that are not being taught in school. The lessons of life that help us to face all the struggles in everyday living. I have learned that patients must be treated holistically, considering their wholeness and uniqueness. I have also learned that communication is a very important aspect in nursing management, utilizing the art of touch and empathy towards the patient. I have become more compassionate and sensitive to the feelings of my patients.