Kuala Lumpur Tzu Chi volunteers began their hospital volunteer services in 1999. In the last ten years, the volunteers have learnt many life lessons from the sick. They also realized they must seize every opportunity to do good deeds when they are still healthy.
Hospital is the best place for cultivation. Many volunteers managed to gain a whole new perspective on life, including the impermanence of life and the importance of health through their weekly visit to the sick.
When they visited their care-recipients, Tzu Chi volunteers in Kuala Lumpur found that there were many outstation patients in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, who had no one to look after them while they were hospitalized. They then decided to pay these patients regular visits.
Since 1999, a group of volunteers have been visiting the lonely patients every Saturday. For the past decade, the volunteers have not only given of themselves, but have also opened themselves up to their fellow human beings.
Lessons from the patients
Every year, Tzu Chi's medical team organizes hospital volunteer training for its medical volunteers to promote team bonding and to build a better understanding among the parties concerned. This year's training, attended by 196 volunteers, was held on October 2, 2011 at the Pudu Community Centre.
As more than half of the participants had no previous hospital volunteer service's experience, the organizer decided to get the medical volunteers to perform a stage play to make the training more interesting and easy to comprehend.
Despite suffering from muscular dystrophy, Lai Chin Tong goes to the hospital with the team in his wheelchair every Saturday. He was invited to share his hospital experience with the participants at this training. He told his audience that through his training as a hospital volunteer, he has come to realize the importance of truly living and honouring each moment of life. As such, he lives each day as if it were his last.
As a patient himself, Chin Tong uses his personal experience to cheer and heal his fellow patients.
According to Chin Tong, helping others makes one feel good. As an example, he cited a case involving a 20-year old spinal injury patient who had never left home for five years. He shared his personal experience with this young man, who eventually opened his heart to others and started to live his life anew. For Chin Tong, after pouring his heart and time into the work he enjoyed doing, a patient's smile is the best return. He is also grateful to have a supportive family and caring volunteers, who provide him the opportunity to serve others.
Chin Tong has inspired many patients in the hospital, who eventually realized that human beings have unlimited potential, and thus we should always look on the bright side of life.
Hospital - a good place to create good affinity
Dr Zheng Zi Yang from the Physiotheraphy Department of University Hospital, was invited to give a lecture about caring for stroke patients and physiotherapy. He also taught the participants the basic nursing skills which are useful not only in the hospital services but also for their family or care-recipients.
After the demonstration, participants were also given an opportunity to practise the skills themselves.
Through the video, the participants learnt the background of Tzu Chi's hospital voluntary services in Taiwan. As Master Cheng Yen was concerned about patients in the hospital, she had hoped to find someone to pay them regular visits. Hence, a medical volunteer team was set up to act as an intermediary between doctors and patients.
It is a great blessing to volunteer one's time for a good cause; and volunteering in the hospitals is a way of acknowledging how fortunate we are to have good health. Also, it is a way of reminding us to serve others in a meaningful way and in the true spirit of Tzu Chi.
The participants also learnt some group entertainment that can be used to cheer up patients.【Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee】
Lai Chin Tong sharing his hospital volunteer experience with the participants.【Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee】
A short sketch was presented to highlight things that hospital volunteers should avoid doing.【Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee】
All present greatly enjoyed the 3-hour comprehensive training course.【Photograph by Casy Lau Chun Nee】
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