Call for PALS Volunteers | Nenagh Guardian

PALS Volunteer at Nenagh Hospital – Virginia O’Dowd.

UL Hospitals Group’s Patient Advocacy Liaison Service (PALS) is looking for volunteers to join their teams at Ennis and Nenagh Hospitals, welcoming patients and visitors, assisting with wayfinding and general questions, and helping people provide feedback on their experiences to give hospital service.

PALS volunteers are ambassadors for our hospitals, a critical element of UL Hospitals Group’s efforts to improve standards of care and the patient experience.

Dressed in distinctive red tabards with an embroidered gold logo, volunteers serve in multiple roles, whether providing directions or escorting patients to appointments, passing information, or collecting patient feedback.

The service is looking for people who could volunteer at either Ennis or Nenagh hospitals for at least three hours a week in the mornings between 8.30am and 12.30pm.

Virginia O’Dowd, a retired teacher and former Nenagh public representative, says volunteering as a PALS volunteer at Nenagh Hospital has been very rewarding and urged people who may have free time to get involved in volunteering their names are of further interest.

“As a PALS volunteer, you make a big difference to patients and their families and visitors by doing simple things well. Before I got involved, I knew that even visiting hospitals can be quite daunting and confusing, so I often thought that meeting and greeting someone, just to offer a friendly smile and when needed, would be a very nice intervention to help. When PALS first started at Nenagh Hospital, I applied to be a PALS volunteer, got called for an interview, and was successful — and I’ve never looked back,” recalled Virginia.

“I get a lot more out of PALS than can actually be measured. It’s only one morning a week, and most people could easily give one morning a week if they had the free time. I enjoy interacting with people and helping them wherever possible. Coming home always makes me feel richer and more appreciative of my own health, and it also fills me with great pride in Nenagh Hospital and its service to the community,” she added.

At Ennis Hospital, Mary McInerney, Assistant Director of Nursing for PALS Volunteers, says local people volunteer for PALS for a variety of reasons: “One of our longest-serving volunteers simply told me he enjoys being part of his local community to give back, and PALS gave them a very social way to do that. An overseas volunteer got involved in the service to forge connections and friendships as he settled in the area. Yet another volunteer joined the ministry after her husband’s death: They found it very important to get involved in something positive; Helping others helped them adjust to their new lives.”

For some, volunteering for PALS can be the very first step in a new career path. One of the very first volunteers to serve at Ennis Hospital later became a porter at the hospital.

Anyone can volunteer for PALS, provided they are 18 years of age or older and support the UL Hospitals Group ethos and goals. Our volunteers come from a wide variety of areas. You don’t need any qualifications as all the support and training you need is provided.

Cathrina Ryan, Operational Director of Nursing at Nenagh Hospital, said: “The PALS volunteers are an integral part of our service at Nenagh and have greatly enhanced the experience of everyone who visits us or participates as patients, many of whom are very pleased to have the friendly greeting from the volunteers at the door and their help in finding their way to their appointments.”

Concluding, PALS volunteer Virginia O’Dowd said, “I would like to urge people in Nenagh or Ennis to volunteer for PALS at their local hospitals. You don’t need a lot of training to smile kindly, ask if you can help, chat and soothe patients.

“All of these are very comforting and simple things that make such a big difference to the hospital experience; Even the smallest act of kindness and support is very meaningful.”


Anyone interested in volunteering for PALS should: Contact Nenagh Hospital on 067-31491 or email [email protected] stating your preferred hospital and available opening times.