5 May 2020

Jean Cooper is a Midwife Assistant (MA) at St Michael’s Hospital, as well as one of Above & Beyond’s dedicated book trolley volunteers.

As we celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife with UHBW, we caught up with Jean about what it takes to be an MA and why she decided to go above and beyond her role by volunteering.

The best thing about my job is the caring.

I enjoy building relationships with new parents – and obviously I love babies – but I didn’t realise how much I’d enjoy the caring side of it so much. I knew I could show them how to change a nappy and breast feed, but just actually looking after people – taking them a cup of tea, putting a hand on the shoulder when they’re feeling really upset. Giving birth is a huge, great emotional time for them and they’ll remember that forever.

You could say it’s normal for us, but it’s still lovely when new parents sit there holding their newborn baby. They’re wide-eyed and can’t quite believe they’ve got a baby. It’s a really nice time and it’s really hard work!

I’m privileged to work at that time in people’s lives.

All babies are different, all mums are different, but I enjoy just helping them and working out what works for them, what’s best for them and looking after them really.

Now on Thursdays I do the book trolley with Above & Beyond too. I love books and it’s doing some volunteering.

I hadn’t done any volunteering for quite a while, but I like helping out. I enjoy learning more about the charity and the hospitals.

I get to share the messages with people at work as well. It’s quite nice to talk to people about it and be a part of it.

The majority of the patients we see are elderly and they really love looking at the selection of books and choosing one. You might go back the next week and they haven’t read all of it but it’s helped them to pass their time. It’s 50/50 giving out books and doing the chatting.

It hopefully gives them a little something in their day.

I enjoy meeting lots of different people from lots of different walks of life. It’s very hard but you see all that love that goes around when someone is in hospital.

Find out more about volunteering for Above & Beyond.