The doctors look after the Assisted Pilgrims both in the Accueil and in the hotels, and are available to see others on the Pilgrimage if needed.
The majority of the work is in the Accueil, where the Assisted Pilgrims are dependent on assistance with activities of daily living. Most have either chronic neurological conditions (old strokes or Parkinson’s disease for example), or frailty which may be due to multiple comorbidities. There is a duty doctor each day, and each night one doctor will sleep in the Accueil. If it is needed, there is easy access to the local General Hospital for acute admission, and it is not far to the regional hospital in Tarbes if necessary.
Consultants of all disciplines and GPs are all welcome. Doctors volunteering must have a licence to practice and a current DBS check. Medical indemnity organisations need to know that you will be spending a week in Lourdes, but do not usually charge anything extra, regarding it rather like “Good Samaritan” work. The doctors are led by the Chief Medical Officer (currently Dr Nuala Mellows). For more information on volunteering as a doctor, please Contact Us.
Nurses volunteer to work for a week in Lourdes with the Catholic Association (CA), caring for our Assisted Pilgrims (AP’s). We work closely with the Doctors, Handmaids and Brancardiers, providing 24-hour care in the Accueil. A small number of our experienced Catholic Association nurses work in the hotels, providing minimal support to AP’s who are self-caring.
How to Join
As a Nurse on our Pilgrimage, you will be expected to have current registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and be prepared to have clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB). In addition to trained Nurses with current UK NMC PIN’s, we welcome Nursing Students who will work under supervision. If you currently work in the NHS as a Band 2, 3 or 4, or are a recently retired nurse, you are also welcome to apply to join the Nursing Team. Please contact the Chief Nurse for further details.
The CA Pilgrimage is during the last week of August each year. It welcomes people from all over the UK; but especially from the Catholic Dioceses of Clifton, East Anglia, Northampton and Southwark. The CA also includes Stonyhurst College and The Glanfield Childrens’ Group. We are represented on various other pilgrimage bodies, such as the British Lourdes Medical Association (BLMA).
Indemnity Insurance and Passport
As a nurse on our Pilgrimage, you should have your own Indemnity Insurance. (Some professional organisations, such as the Royal College of Nursing (Rcn), include this as part of your membership). You will also need an EHIC card and current passport. If your Passport is not a British or European one, you may need a visa. Our Pilgrimage Travel Agent, Tangney Tours, will be able to give you advice on this and many other details of our Pilgrimage, or you can apply through your Diocese and they will be able to advise you.
Some Nurses stay in hotel accommodation for the week and some stay in hostel type accommodation. If you require hostel accommodation, it is important that you contact the Chief Nurse as soon as possible. Hostel accommodation will be on a first-come first-served basis and will only be available to nurses who have had their annual leave application approved by their manager and are able to volunteer for the whole Pilgrimage week. A deposit would be required at the time of booking.
The Nursing Team is led by the Chief Nurse (currently Tina Quinn).
If you wish to join us, please download the form provided on this page and return a filled out copy to the Chief Nurse as requested. You can also contact our pilgrimage’s Chief Nurse via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or enquire through Tangney Tours or your Diocesan Director.
We warmly welcome you to work with us, in a voluntary capacity. It may be possible to subsidise you a minimal amount. This may be in the form of subsidised accommodation. Subsidies will only be given to nurses who are staying the whole Pilgrimage week (Friday to Friday). Nurses are expected to do some fundraising of their own to help with their expenses. Nurses are advised to approach their Diocesan Directors and local Parish, who may be able to help with expenses. Please Contact Us you need the contact details of your Diocesan Director.
As a member of the Nursing Team on our Pilgrimage, you will be expected to work a mixture of early, late, twilight and night shifts in the Accueil, where 24-hour nursing and personal care is provided to our AP’s. You will be expected to stay the whole week, which is from Friday to Friday. Any nurse, who cannot complete the whole week, should contact the Chief Nurse before booking travel and accommodation.
The closing date for application forms is always 1 June.