The role of doctors and nurses
Joining the Ampleforth Pilgrimage as a doctor or a nurse provides an opportunity to do something completely different – and to make a real difference.
Away from the constraints of the National Health Service and normal working life, the Pilgrimage allows time to be with people and to get alongside them – both Assisted Pilgrims and fellow helpers.
The medical team varies every year. There are usually at least six doctors, but their ages, skills and experiences vary enormously. Some are newly qualified, others nearing retirement; one may be highly specialised in a relatively obscure field, another will have wide general experience. The Pilgrimage provides a unique opportunity for medics to work together and learn from one another, sharing their expertise and enthusiasm. The week in Lourdes is a learning opportunity for us all. We welcome medical students, and many have benefited from this informal teaching over the years.
We do not have expensive, technical equipment (emergencies may have to be referred to the excellent local French General Hospital) but we do need an innovative and collaborative approach to enable us to cope with most challenges as they arise.
The nurses too come with a wide range of experience – ITU, practice nursing, midwifery, community and hospital, and the nursing team also welcomes nursing students and practicing HCAs. It is surprising how everyone has different skills, which are called on at different times and in different ways.
As a Nurse on our Pilgrimage, we confirm your current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) is requested for all helpers on the pilgrimage, including nurses. In addition to trained Nurses we welcome Health Care Assistants and Nursing Students. If you are a Retired Nurse, we would warmly welcome you as a helper on the Pilgrimage, but if you are keen to use your nursing skills please indicate your experience on the application form.
You will need your own Indemnity Insurance. Some professional organisations, such as the Royal College of Nursing and Unison, include this as part of your membership. You will also need an EHIC card, current passport, and if yours is not a British or European one, you may need a visa.
We are also interested in hearing from other medical professionals, for example paramedics, physiotherapists or pharmacists.
There is financial support for nurses who wish to join the pilgrimage – please ask about this, if you need assistance.