Hospital Heroes – February 2021
1st February 2021
At St John & St Elizabeth Hospital, we take huge pride in the amazing work of our team and their dedication to our mantra: Putting People First.
We have over 570 people working for us across 41 departments and consider each and every one integral to the smooth running of the hospital.
Our Hospital Hero series gives us the opportunity to share their stories, to learn about different roles and to better understanding what it is that appeals to them about caring for patients.
Be sure to follow the hospital’s Instagram account (@stjohnandstelizabethhospital) for our latest portraits and keep an eye on the hospital website for a monthly round-up.
Hashini Pothuwila, Practising Privileges Compliance Administrator
I did a Masters degree in Human Resource Management and had originally planned to follow that route for employment. When I started the job hunt, I came across my previous role working for a private medical agency and discovered that I really enjoyed working in compliance. I stayed there for three years before joining the Hospital last February.
Compliance is very challenging, you learn lots of things, always have questions every day and it’s never boring. Day-to-day, it’s my job to ensure the documentation of all the Hospital’s Consultants is up-to-date on the system we use. There are several documents that require attention, from DBS (The Disclosure and Barring Service) to indemnity insurance, appraisal details to things relating to mandatory training. Some expire daily, others every other day.
You require good attention to detail to do my role. To keep on top of which documents are expiring, I generate a set of reports every day. My aim is to stay two to three weeks ahead that way the consultants have time to make the updates. They are obviously very important to the Hospital, so it’s about making their lives easier and maintaining a good relationship. If they want training, I communicate with the training department to organise it.
I had to adjust to working from home, but it’s been a good thing. My parents have critical illnesses so it was a relief when the Hospital made the decision early. As a team, we’ve had lots of meetings online and my manager was always checking if I was ok; communications-wise it’s been good. Obviously, you miss out on the normal human conversations you have with people when you work side-by-side, but we’ve done really well.
When I do get to go to the Hospital, you can tell the atmosphere is so friendly. At the beginning, I was a bit nervous, but everyone was super nice and kind. Every day I enjoy my job and talking to my colleagues. It’s been very nice.
I’m excited for 2021, with the vaccine we have a path to normality.
Shadmani Thanvi, Governance Administrator
I’ve only been working at the Hospital since late November. I was previously working for the NHS as an administrator in physiotherapy but was deployed early in the pandemic to the patient safety department. That’s where my interest in patient safety, governance and improving quality of care for patients developed.
My role is quite varied which is one of the things I enjoy the most about it. No two days are ever the same. We deal a lot with hospital-wide audits making sure everyone is complying with the relevant protocols. We do our best to support and enable all the staff. As you can imagine, a lot of the clinical staff are very clinical minded so we try to help them with the admin side of things. We also look at the risks involved with each department. When I was working on-site, I really enjoyed visiting each department and speaking to the staff, seeing what they need help with, listening to what’s worrying them and the risks they feel need to be dealt with. My favourite part is probably reviewing incidents logged on our system Datix, investigating what happened and working out what lessons can be learned.
I’ve learnt over time that relationship building is vital in my role. It’s not been ideal working from home but whenever I’m at the Hospital I’ve done my best to go and introduce myself in person. It’s far better than just an email. I then explain how I can help them. I need them to know that if they are stuck or need help that they are comfortable coming forward to me.
In the short time I’ve been working here, I’ve noticed everybody is very approachable, ready to help and very accommodating. People really listen to you. When you walk down the corridors people always say hello and smile. It’s a bit like a big family.
Amanda Kennelly, Pre Assessment Nurse
Pre-assessment plays an important part in a patient’s treatment pathway. Before admission, we call them to assess their medical history and to give them fasting instructions. Our aim is to optimise patients for surgery by making sure appropriate tests have been done and liaising with the Consultant and Anaesthetist if there are any concerns. Many patients are anxious about surgery, so we listen and try to reassure them.
I’ve worked in pre-assessment for eight years at various hospitals, a hospice and in the community.
As you can imagine, the pandemic has brought new challenges to pre-assessment, particularly the need to test for COVID-19 and the restrictions regarding self-isolation. Demand for surgery is high at the moment, especially as we’re facilitating urgent surgery of NHS cancer patients at our Hospital. It’s good to do our bit to keep waiting lists down.
This is actually my second time working at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital. I started my current role in August having previously worked on the St Clare’s Ward day surgery in 2006.
Everyone has been very welcoming and friendly since I started. There’s a unique atmosphere here, everyone knows each other and this enables us to work as a team and help each other. Being a small independent Hospital with a long history of caring for and being part of the community, especially in London, makes it special.
Annette Antoine, Pre Assessment Nurse
I’ve worked at the Hospital for over 20 years but only been in my current role as a Pre Assessment Nurse since February last year. Since the admission system went online, I take care of face-to-face assessments as well as calling patients who are booked for surgery from our online LIFEBOX Health Questionnaire system.
I’ll start making my calls from 8 am, validating the patient entries and making amends where necessary. As part of my these calls, I explain the admission process from entry all the way through to post-surgery expectations. I also inform patients about their medications and relay any test results that might be necessary for surgery to go ahead. I tend to finish work around 8 pm but many patients always call back towards the end of that final hour hoping I’ll complete what I need from them.
Not only have I worked here for so long, but I’ve also had more operations at HJE than most. I’ve had six in total at the hands of five surgeons! Not many can say that.
Keep checking back each month for more updates in our Hospital Heroes series.