Placement requirements/ recruitment process
Can I volunteer if I am not a UK resident?
We require applicants to be resident in the UK and have the right to work in the EU.
Can I volunteer alongside my partner/spouse?
We will consider applications from couples. We will look at each of you separately and determine if you individually meet the criteria for a placement.
What if I can't commit to six months?
Although we aim to facilitate 6 month placements, VfMH would still like to speak to you if you are able to offer a shorter period of time than this (with a minimum of three months). We regret that we are unable to fund travel costs for shorter placements, but we will fund your insurance and accommodation costs. We are unable to send people on placement for less than two months.
Do I need to fundraise?
We require volunteers to raise a minimum of £500 (this is only a small percentage of the actual cost to VfMH of offering a placement), prior to their placement. We can offer support with fundraising ideas if needed.
Will I need any vaccinations before I go?
VfMH recommends that you make an appointment with your GP or travel nurse as soon as you accept a placement in order to discuss this, as recommendations can change. It is also wise to ensure that any routine health checks and vaccinations are completed prior to departure (dentist, eye test, etc.).
Why do I need to have a medical and HIV test?
This is something that the hospital has requested from our volunteers. The hospital have explained that they need to know about any medical conditions affecting our volunteers so they can offer appropriate help should the volunteer become unwell whilst on placement.
What training will I receive?
All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory training / briefing weekend before travelling to Romania. Training is delivered by former VfMH volunteers, who will be able to share their first-hand experiences with you and give you an idea of what to expect during your placement. We aim to make training informative, interactive and enjoyable. Sessions will include an introduction to VfMH policies specific to the volunteer role (including information about health, safety and security), information about travel, accommodation and insurance and the practicalities of living and working in Tarnaveni. We will also look at the role of the volunteer at the hospital, hospital policies and procedures and intercultural awareness. The weekend also provides an opportunity to get to know your co-volunteers, to ask any questions and to finalise arrangements for your placement.
Working in the hospital
How would I communicate with the patients?
We encourage volunteers to learn some basic Romanian prior to their placement and we can put you in touch with a volunteer in the UK who can advise you about how you can do this. Learning some basic vocabulary will enhance your experience of living and working in Romania and make it easier to communicate with patients and staff. However, it is also possible to work very effectively with patients using non-verbal communication and you will find that the language barrier is one you can overcome with a little imagination and good will.
What support / supervision would I receive?
Before going on placement, volunteers are encouraged to get to know their colleagues in order that they can share mutual support in Tarnaveni. In addition to this, volunteers can expect to receive regular phone calls from a designated phone support person based in the UK. On your return to the UK you will receive a confidential debrief, which provides an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings which have arisen from your experiences in Romania.
Living in Romania
What if I become unwell on placement?
VfMH provides a personal insurance policy for each volunteer, which includes cover for accident or serious illness; you will be provided with a number to call in order to get free medical treatment in an emergency, should this be necessary.
What if I go on placement but find I need to return earlier than expected?
This is not something we encourage and we do expect volunteers to consider any commitments at home before undertaking a placement. We aim to support volunteers to work through any difficulties they experience in Tarnaveni with their phone support person. However, we do appreciate that people's circumstances can change and we would support you to return should this be necessary, for example in cases of bereavement or serious ill-health. Although we expect volunteers to commit themselves to the project, we would never prevent someone from leaving should they decide to do so.
What is there to do in the evenings and weekends?
Tarnaveni has a museum, a library (although most of the books are in Romanian) and a selection of bars and restaurants. In the summertime the outdoor swimming pool opens. There are also numerous opportunities for walking and sightseeing. Many volunteers choose to visit neighbouring towns and attractions at weekends, travelling by public transport from Tarnaveni. More information about these can be found in guide books and online.
What facilities are available at the volunteer house?
The volunteer flat is simply furnished; it has two bedrooms, a small bath and shower room, a kitchen with cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine, and a living room. It has gas central heating and double glazed windows, a small closed balcony for airing clothes and Wi-Fi.
After your placement
Can I stay involved with VfMH?
We are always keen for volunteers to stay involved. All VfMH trustees have previously done placements in Tarnaveni and we welcome input from returning volunteers to shape the direction the charity takes in the future. Some people like to become involved by attending meetings as soon as they return to the UK, while others prefer to have some time to readjust first. Either way, we will welcome your input.
Can I return to visit the hospital?
Some volunteers do return for further placements. It is important to approach VfMH about doing this before making any plans. All placements need to be effectively coordinated and we are obliged to discuss all placements with the hospital before the volunteer arrives.
Can I stay in touch with patients?
VfMH ensures that all relationships between patients and volunteers respect patient/professional boundaries. While it is natural to feel a commitment to patients you have worked with, these are professional and not social relationships. Therefore letters or visits to particular patients are not appropriate. By staying involved with the charity you will be kept updated about developments at the hospital and patients' progress, and this will give you the opportunity to have a longer-term impact on the work of VfMH and continue to affect positive change to patients' lives.