GSK Australia employee PULSE volunteering story - Dani Nicholls

Dani Nicholls is a Clinical Projects Coordinator for Vaccines, based in Abbotsford, Australia. Dani completed her assignment in Romania, working with Hospice Casa Sperantei (Hospices of Hope) caring for locals unable to afford palliative care. As well as going on patient visits and participating in fundraising efforts, Dani assisted in clean up and maintenance of an existing fundraising database.

Hospice Casa Sperantei look after people not only in palliative care, but provide support to both patients and their families, physically, mentally and emotionally. I was able to assist the Hospice Casa Sperantei as part of GSK’s PULSE Volunteer Partnership (a skills-based volunteering initiative, matching GSK employees with non-profit organisations).

I was overwhelmed and humbled by the opportunities I was exposed to and the intelligent people that surrounded me. My manager Cristiana was an inspiration. She takes her role very seriously and surrounds herself with like-minded people to ensure the success of the NGO she works for.

I listened to Hospice professionals discussing the importance of their roles, the needs of their patients, and how they envisage the future. One thing that really resonated with me throughout this experience was Hospice Casa Sperantei's motto - "Pretuim fiecare clipa de viata " or "Cherish every moment of life". The team live this motto daily.

I was there primarily, to assist with implementing a fundraising database. It had been introduced a year ago but the team required some assistance with some technical issues and training. I worked with the incredibly talented IT team  on my project. Our brainstorming brought some key solutions to light and I was extremely excited by the possibility of not just one solution - the database - but several long term solutions including the introduction of an intranet site to help with communications across their multiple sites in Romania, Moldova, UK (head office) and fundraising support in Canada.  I met with Marius from GSK Brasov who offered his expertise and assistance to support the creation and implementation of a Hospice Intranet. He and his team dedicated their Orange Day to this worthwhile project.

Throughout this journey, I was given the opportunity to participate in several activities, I met with patients, assisted with fundraising events (such as monthly trivia nights, fundraising balls and fashion events), and looked for opportunities to create relationships with future potential supporters. As someone who is not naturally extroverted, this pushed me out of my comfort zone, but having the support of such a wonderful team, made the transition relatively easy.

What I was able to achieve benefited Hospice Casa Sperantei and aided their efforts to provide for their community, but my time in Romania also allowed me to bring home new ideas and new information to bolster my contribution to GSK. My PULSE project enabled me to learn from experienced professionals in the field of IT solutions, which I have used to enhance projects for not only my immediate team, but also my directorate and our global teams, including the implementation of team sites with the ability to perform automatic visual metrics, InfoPath forms for consolidation of Medical Competency Framework data – globally, tracking tools for local and regional teams, and support of IT projects already in place in the Medical Directorate.

By assisting in the fundraising activities with the Hospice, the experience allowed me to see opportunities to do more with less, and learning from the experiences and knowledge of others. I understand the benefits of simplifying processes whilst still adhering to the necessary policies and procedures.

By meeting and speaking with patients, I was able to see how we, as a company, were assisting patients to “do more, feel better and live longer.”