Lindsay, medical secretary

I started working here in October 2014 on a 20hr temporary 6-month contract. I was very nervous not only because it was a much smaller organisation than I was used to, but it was a completely different job to what I was used to having never worked in the healthcare sector before.

By Christmas 2014, I felt part of the team and for the first time since I started my working life at 19, I enjoyed my job. By the end of my 6-month contract I was fortunate enough to be taken on permanently and have my hours increased.

Over the almost five years I have been here, I’ve become much more confident and competent and I surprise myself sometimes with how well I cope with a situation.

Luckily, for me I work with an amazing colleague who is both a support personally and professionally. We help each other deal with the daily struggles in work. Some patients can get to you more than others can. We each know what our triggers are and we support each other appropriately.

As a medical secretary, we receive the referrals so we are the first contact for patients and/or relatives sometimes. We ring them to let them know we have a bed available and organise an ambulance. It can be very rewarding when you hear the relief in a person’s voice and they are thanking you, but it can also be very sad. There have been patients that have started their Hospice journey coming to the Outpatient Clinic, and we get to know them. Despite trying to not have a connection, some people just affect you more than others, and this has happened several times in the past 5 years.

Throughout my time here, I have done a day in many of the departments of the Hospice, to see how each works. I’ve tried Day Services, Lymphoedema, Kitchen, Cash Office and In-Patients. In-Patients was by far the hardest but I’m so glad I did it and got to see things from the other side.

A couple of years ago, some of the middle managers attended a ‘Leading from the Middle’ course and their focus was on staff resilience. From this, a Wellbeing Group was set up which I was eager to join as I feel very passionate about wellbeing. We held our first Staff Day in October 2018 and have had 3 more since. They have all been extremely successful. We have provided a different physical activity each time, with a healthy food option, complementary therapies for staff members and access to the hydrotherapy pool as well as a chance to try out an electric bike. I hope these go from strength to strength.

Working at the Hospice has shown me that I can enjoy a job. I work with such loving and caring colleagues who are always there to help you if you’re struggling with a particular piece of work, or if you are finding things a little tough. I think the staff and volunteers make Willow Wood a very unique place as we’re like a family - there to support one another no matter what!

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