Hospital Heroes – November 2020
2nd November 2020
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.
Jozanne Botes, Senior Cardiac Physiologist
I’ve always had a passion for cardiac matters since my brother introduced me to the subject during my school days. Once I looked into it, I really enjoyed it and in the end I went on to study clinical technology.
I knew when I came to the UK from South Africa five years ago that there was a shortage of cardiac physiologists in the country. I was only planning on staying for a short period, but look how long I’ve been here.
At the moment, my role entails undertaking all the diagnostic tests of the heart, which includes ultrasounds, echocardiograms, stress echos and ECGs. It’s a satisfying role to be able to help patients on the diagnostics side. I’m also involved with policy writing and the infection control audits needed for our department.
Because of its relatively small size, everyone gets to know each other at this Hospital. Particularly with the cardiology department, it doesn’t feel like we’re just working together, it feels like we’re a family.
What I really like about things here is the quality time I’m afforded with my patients. I don’t need to rush through the tests which allows me to build relationships. Not having that pressure to rush things is so important and sets the tone for the department; it means we can be there for each other and it’s very comforting for the patients.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I was asked to help out with infection control. I was there for just over three months and it was very, very challenging. That said, I think that time proved to me that if I have to step up, I can. The situation was new for everyone, so to have a role where I was able to help out and offer advice gave me confidence. I feel I’ve carried that over to my work in Cardiology. I feel like that time and the role gave me a new perspective on patient safety.
Obviously, the pandemic made things challenging, but it’s shown me how you can deal with things. By projecting confidence in what you are doing and being friendly, you can put patients at ease.
From an infection control perspective, there are a lot of new safety protocols in place at the Hospital. From making everyone wear masks and strict social distancing measures to scheduling appointments so that they are further apart to ensure there’s no overcrowding, we’re doing everything we can to keep people safe.
Understandably, you might get a bit nervous these days if you’re surrounded by lots of people but when you come to the front desk here, you can be sure you’ll be the only ones there. We take social distancing seriously. We also go out of our way to show people we’re washing our hands because people want to see that.
I think it’s going really well. We’ve had a lot of feedback from patients whose visits to our Hospital have been their first venture outside of the house, and they’ve said it’s been a great experience.
Melissa Ann Bullen, Senior Staff Nurse, St Francis Ward
I’ve been working at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital since April 2017 and started as a Band 5 Staff Nurse on the St Francis Ward. My job entails looking after patients undergoing surgeries, catering to them post-operatively and caring for medical patients as well.
Being a nurse was never a plan and nobody in my family is in healthcare at all. I became a nurse with the encouragement of my mother. She knew it would be a rewarding job and would open up big doors for me. It was actually overwhelming and challenging at the beginning of my career but I’ve learned to love everything about nursing. Working at HJE has given me a chance to grow and explore more opportunities.
Our management team makes sure that every member of staff gets access to training to hone their skills and they also keep their doors open for staff to be heard and to contribute to improving the quality of nursing care for our patients.
In the few years that I have worked here, I have looked after a number of patients who have been admitted on several occasions. They often cite the friendliness of the staff, the feeling that nurses are knowledgeable and that they are always well looked after as reasons for coming back rather than being admitted elsewhere.
I’ve learned to love being a nurse all the more because of my experiences at this Hospital. I enjoy being under the care of my supportive manager and being part of a department that challenges me and also encourages me to step up. I value the teamwork that continues to help me grow and improve.
I can still remember the visit I made here when I applied for the job, there was something special about the atmosphere that convinced me I should work here. I’ve not looked back since.
Claire Manley, Head of Outpatients
I was doing a Masters degree in history at the University of London when I first joined the Hospital in 2008. I initially got the job through an agency and things have progressed from there!
My job title is probably a little misleading at the moment because I currently deal with inpatients as well as outpatients. First, I look after the unit coordinators – a team of 12 – who form our contact centre which patients call to book appointments and get referred to consultants. I also look after the 20 medical secretaries who are employed to work with our consultants. It’s my responsibility to make sure that their consultants are happy and that they are on top of their workload. Lastly, I deal with admissions which involves the administrative side of patients coming to the Hospital, booking their pre-assessments and their medical records.
I’m quite busy but I love that my role is so varied and that I get to work with so many different people. There’s a family feel at the Hospital and that’s probably kept me here more than anything. That and our ethos. There are lots of other private hospitals but I love that ours has our hospice, St John’s.
As you can imagine, since COVID-19, day-to-day routines have become a lot more complicated. The virus affects every decision we make. Keeping our staff safe is paramount and that requires us to be up-to-speed with new guidance and making sure new protocols are being followed. If our staff don’t feel safe it means we’re not providing the service to our patients that we should be. We’re constantly evaluating the situation and keeping safety at the forefront of our minds.
The Hospital has done a lot to promote our Mental Health First Aiders and our Speak Up Champions to make sure they are quite visible. We want to offer support wherever needed. We’re also trying to be flexible for people. If someone feels they don’t want to travel on the Underground at a particular time, we’ll look to offer alternatives so that they do feel comfortable. We’ll then look to adjust and cover accordingly.
Keep checking back each month for more updates in our Hospital Heroes series.