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Volunteer Appreciation Week - 2013 Healthy People, Healthy Communities
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From Volunteer to Physician: A Natural Evolution

- Shawn Metcalfe, Resident Physician, Faculty of Family Medicine

I first started volunteering with Eastern Health as a bright-eyed university student seeking to create positive change within my local community.

My parents had instilled within me the values of social justice and service to others at a very early age, and it seemed a natural evolution to use the skills I had in the service of the elderly and infirm.

My elder brother Brian was the first to tip me off to volunteering opportunities, having previously volunteered at the gift shop in St. Clare’s. Having similar inclinations, my twin brother David and I both put forth our names for service on the wards at St. Clare’s.

The memories of encounters experienced during my time volunteering there have remained with me to this day. I would volunteer on Friday evenings after my chemistry labs at the university and I fondly recall that even though I was often tired from the long day’s efforts, I would be cheered by time spent with patients.

Whether it was playing a game of cards, fetching a cup of tea, or spending a few hours talking to a patient who didn’t often get visitors, I truly felt that in some small way I was making someone else’s day just a little bit brighter.

These encounters helped others during difficult periods in their lives, but they also inspired me to go even further in the service of others.

As a resident physician with the Faculty of Family Medicine, I draw on the experience gained as a volunteer with Eastern Health every day when interacting with patients - as do both of my brothers, and former volunteers, Drs. David and Brian Metcalfe.

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Updated Apr 15, 2013