"If somebody asks me or needs some help, you tend to be like Sherlock Holmes - You’ve got to look, listen and sort of deduct - and think can we do it this way, can so-so help?"

" I’m a radiotherapy treatment co-ordinator. I’m married with 3 children. 19, 23 & 27. I have worked here in the department, in sterile services for 13 and half year and it was going to the private sector, so I applied for the job and came to work here! That was in May 2007.

My role encompasses a lot of things. Especially now. I do reception, I can work anywhere in the department, I can do patient care information and support, and deal with patients with queries regarding benefits, advise, alternative therapies, sign posting them to other people in other departments. 

I enjoy everything about work. It’s a job I can see me doing until I retire. I like working with everyone I come across within the department. Students especially. Which it’s great to see them when they come in their first week and they do a week on the reception, and then they end up at the end of second or third year and get jobs here or somewhere else. It’s great to see them all blossom. 

My funniest moment; we quite often get filmed in the department here, so one of my funniest moments is when we filmed the crew for another country and it was all in puppets. And these puppets were spitting image of us. And trying to keep a straight face… was hard. Very hard.

One of my special memories was when Princess Anne came to the department. She had a list of people she could speak to, but she actually stopped to speak to us on the desk. And she just commented on how the reception desk looked like a control deck on a ship. I’ve never been on a big ship, especially the control deck - so I’ll take her word for it on that one. 

It’s really nice to meet a lot of people. Everybody coming through the department, whether they be a patient, relatives, staff, anybody. We get people from all over the country. That come and visit us in one way or another. Either setting up new departments in other countries or even just seeing how our department works. So that’s really really good. I always say don’t be frightened to come and visit us, because we don’t bite.

How I look at my role is that when somebody comes into the department, it might be that they’ve just walked in off the street and they want to go to another department, or it’s actually daunting to come in here (to hospital). 
Many people are frightened about coming into hospital. what i firmly believe is that when someone comes to you at the desk, or anywhere in the department - a smile and a kind word goes a long way. You can tell when somebody comes in, whether it’s their first time.. they can either be climbing the ceiling because they’re terrified or they just don’t know what to expect. And just by just having a little chat with them, you know they’ll go to their planning appointment or go and have their first treatment. Many people come back and say, “I don’t know why I was so nervous.”   But it’s just the fear of the unknown. 

I can direct to other services. Quite often I’ll take them across myself, rather than just give them directions. Because it’s much easier to show somebody. And it’s just about getting patients sorted out. A patient in the past, had a lot of complex medical problems from birth, and they were struggling to get a chiropodist appointment - especially with their appointments here. And they couldn’t go to chiropodist appointment because their immune system was so low, so I managed to ring around and get somebody that could do it for her.

I was shopping with my daughter when I ran into someone who used to be a patient here a few years ago. And had quite a few other medical conditions. I asked her how she was doing and she began to tell me all about how difficult things have been because of all of these medical issues. My daughter ended up going off to another store. We ended up talking for around an hour and I told her I could give her some information and point her in the right direction to cancer support networks she didn’t know was available. 

And before we left she was just so thankful and said it meant the world to her that I had listened to her and given her the time. I was like, “Don’t be silly. Any time."

If somebody asks me or needs some help, you tend to be like Sherlock Holmes - You’ve got to look, listen and sort of deduct - and think can we do it this way, can so-and-so help? I often start ringing around and say, “I’ve got this problem, or is there any advice you can give me, or anyone I can go?”  We’ve got all this information, and I’ve managed to source where all the information comes from and because a lot of patients don’t come from around here, I’ve managed to find out all the different support networks for different areas. And just got all the information so radiographers can have this information to out to patients soon. 

When I was working in the Sterile services I made sure I did a thorough job. Everything has a number and a place and it needs to be clean. I worked with some temporary staff, and they didn’t do the best job, so I preferred to be in charge of my own work - so I could be 100% accountable and I knew that the sets would be clean and accurate. 

Because I just think, if it was my family member going for an operation - I would want everything clean and correct. And that’s how I do all my work. I just believe we should treat everyone as we would want ourselves or our family and friends to be treated.  "
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