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Solaris Cancer Care: providing a different kind of classroom for health service students

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 Last week was National Volunteer week (20 – 26 May), and WA’s leading cancer support provider – Solaris Cancer Care recognised the enormous impact that volunteer health service students have made on the charity.

“The theme for this year, making a world of difference, is indicative of the way that health service students have engaged with Solaris – bringing their enthusiasm, knowledge and professionalism to a group of grateful cancer patient and carers,” said Solaris Cancer Care CEO, David Edwards.   

In a similar fashion, the charity is creating job readiness for undergraduates and graduates as they establish their career in the health services sector. 

“Solaris Cancer Care helps prepare health service workers to deal with the raw emotions that sometimes students are unable to face during their own placements,” said Adarsh Das, a Solaris who volunteered for the non-profit when studying as an undergraduate and UWA medical school graduate.

Mr Das – now a doctor at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital – was drawn to volunteer in an effort to develop his communication skills, stating that lack of communication between health service professionals and patients is becoming an issue within the health system.

The charity also plays an essential role in building the confidence of health service students.

“Students are sometimes not as respected as the full-time health service workers due to lack of responsibility.

“As a Solaris Cancer Care volunteer, you have a responsibility to do good by the patients and carers who visit one of the centres, and this accountability helps to prepare you for the pressure of full-time work," said Mr Das.

The non-profit currently receives no ongoing government funding, relying on the generosity of donations from the Western Australian community, coupled with in-kind support from 350 volunteers, believed to be one of the largest groups of volunteers in the State.

Unfortunately, budget concerns for Solaris Cancer Care are putting pressure on the organisation to limit operating hours at its regional centres in Bunbury and Albany, meaning that volunteers could be lost taking training, skills and capacity with them.

To prevent this, Solaris Cancer Care is calling on generous Western Australian’s who have been touched by cancer as it raises funds and awareness during its May we Thrive campaign. 

For more information and to make a one-off tax deductable donation, visit www.solaristhrive.com.au.