Clinical Volunteer FAQ's

Got a clinical volunteering question? Check our FAQ's below

Volunteering as a Nurse, Doctor or Paramedic

Over The Wall is a UK charity, and part of the SeriousFun Children’s Network. Paul Newman started the first camp in the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps in Connecticut, USA in 1988. Over the years, he expanded that vision by helping to establish camps in all over the world. To date, these camps have served over 100,000 children with chronic and life-threatening illness from 31 countries, and Paul Newman’s vision lives on in the SeriousFun Children’s Network. Over The Wall provides these children and their families with an empowering, renewing experience completely free of charge, at sites in England and Scotland. There are weeklong programs in the summer for children age 8-17 years, as well as weekend camps for the entire family. Having a dynamic, experienced team of medical professionals at camp provides peace of mind to the campers and families who attend so they can enjoy the experience to the fullest. 

We need the help of nurses (child, adult and learning disabilities) and doctors (paediatricians, GPs, A&E) and paramedics who are registered to practice with the relevant professional body, and have indemnity insurance. You do not need to be an expert in a particular medical condition to support a camp. 

We accept children aged 8 to 17, with a large range of health challenges, from sickle cell to cancer, from epilepsy to arthritis. To date, we have served campers with over 100 diagnoses. 

Camp could not happen without the generosity of nurses and doctors giving up their time to be on the ‘Beach Patrol’, our camp medical team. The Beach Patrol’s role is giving ‘home away from home’ care which normally involves giving medications, overnight NG/PEG feeds, dressing changes, blood sugar monitoring etc. (You don’t need to know how to do all of these things before you come…we will teach you!). And when we aren’t busy with that, we can join your team for activities like swimming, kayaking, fishing, climbing, drama… Some of our campers may never have had the chance to do these things because of their illness. 

Each team will include a combination of returning Beach Patrol volunteers, and first timers. Beach Patrol are present at all our Health Challenge, Sibling, Family and Partnership camps. The OTW Nursing Director or Nursing Co-ordinator will attend camp to provide leadership and guidance. 

We think it’s great that you have had such a good time as a camper that you’d like to come back!  

Depending on the type of camp you attend, the time commitment we require can last between 3 and 6 days. In order to give continuity to our campers and ensure there is enough time to prepare for campers arriving, we ask that you commit to a full session and we cannot accept late arrivals. 

For summer sessions, nurses and doctors arrive 1 night before campers for orientation. You will also receive a handbook via email 6 weeks prior to your session. 

Following your orientation/interview, you will be sent a conditional offer of a place at camp subject to a satisfactory police check, at least two suitable references, confirmation of your MMR and Covid-19 vaccinations and assessment of any medical information you have provided. 

Comfortable/casual clothes and footwear! You will be provided with Over The Wall t-shirts, which you will need to wear at all times. 

Beach Patrol volunteers usually have their own room or share with other Beach Patrol volunteers in dormitory style accommodation. All meals are provided. There are vegetarian options available at each meal, and we can cater for special diets by prior arrangement. 

Many of our campers will have lowered immune systems or will be coming into close contact with those who do, and so we cannot risk the possible spread of infection at camp. If you are feeling unwell in the run up to camp, it is vital you contact us so that we can assess whether you are well enough to attend. This includes symptoms of the flu, diarrhoea, vomiting, a temperature, rash, sore throat, cough and cold sores etc. Depending on your symptoms we may ask you not to come to camp or you may be asked to go home. We understand it would be disappointing not to be able to come along to camp at the last minute, but we hope you understand the safety of our campers must be a priority.