At the Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth we take pride in the happiness and development of our staff. Below we share the experiences of staff members from urgent care doctors through to members of our estates team.
Andre, and the Hospital set up Casualty First 5 years ago, he comments, “The urgent care centre is truly unique in that our team of A+E Doctors provide care for adults and children from the age of one year, we see patients instantly and provide diagnosis and treatment on the same day. I’m proud to say that our average waiting time in now only 8 minutes!”
I think I first started working here via an agency in 1996 and then became full time the year after. As a Phlebotomist, my role involves collecting and processing blood samples from patients – both outpatients and inpatients – and getting them down to the lab for analysis with the help of the porters. It’s about ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible. We also deal with urine samples and swab tests undertaken by nurses, it’s quite varied.
We were quite quiet during the lockdown period at the beginning but now we’ve been very busy following the pandemic spike. Not just doing blood tests but also the antibody testing. That brought a lot of people to our Hospital and we also had to test all the staff and consultants.
I was working in Charing Cross Hospital on the pathology side of things but I decided I didn’t want to be looking at machines all day. It’s better to have human interaction! I opted to work in an outpatient setting and dealing with patients face-to-face. I find it to be more rewarding, you get the chance to meet new people and to talk to them. I’m a people person so it suits me more than talking to machines!
I really enjoy working here, even if it is a little hectic and nerve-racking right now with the pandemic and all the extra protocols we have in place to keep people safe. It’s still enjoyable, especially working with my colleagues. I’ve been very lucky on that front to have had so many good colleagues down the years and at present. I would say there’s a family atmosphere, for sure.
The Hospital has grown a lot since I joined. We used to have maybe 40 or 50 consultants now I understand it to be over 400. Obviously that brings a lot more work but diversity in the work as well. For example, we’ve also got new departments like paediatrics which we didn’t used to have at the time I started. There’s been a lot of change. At one time I knew everybody in the corridors by name but now there’s a lot more people!
I lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years and only came to London to spend a short time with family but 16 years later I’m still here! The family won’t let me go. That whole time, I’ve worked at St John & St Elizabeth Hospital.
My role entails a few different responsibilities. First, I facilitate the day-to-day management of theatres, organising, planning and ensuring we’ve got the right equipment for the procedures and the doctors. I also oversee staffing for procedures, making sure we always have the right skill mix on hand.
Secondly, I’m responsible for ensuring our nursing team maintains their excellent standards of care and are fully compliant with all the protocols in place.
I also look after the student nurses that come from City and King’s College, helping them get the proper mentorship they need when working in the operating rooms. I’m also involved in the personal development and in-house training and education of our own nursing staff.
As I mentioned before, one of my key roles is to provide a safe working environment. You’ve heard of the phrase “to err is human”…to expect flawless performances from staff working in a complex and highly stressful environment is quite unrealistic so we have systems in place to guard staff against mistakes.
One of the processes we have in place is the WHO surgical safety checklist. This is a tool designed to improve the safety of surgical procedures. It brings the whole team together in the theatre. From the surgeons and anaesthetic team to the scrub nurses, we all perform vital checks from briefing and sign-in time through to timeout and debrief. The aim is to allow everybody to communicate any concerns they might have from the list. At the end of the list we have a debrief to discuss what went well, what we can improve on and this is all audited on a monthly basis.
I’ve worked here for a total of two years and seven months. I started in 2018 as a reception administrator in the Imaging department and then took up my current role as a unit coordinator in March 2019.
I help to coordinate the orthopaedic consultant clinics; I book patients in, refer them to consultants, liaise with their secretaries and also insurance companies. The aim is to ensure our patients enjoy a seamless journey from enquiry to hospital stay.
I’m the first point of contact when someone calls up our department to enquire about our services. I, therefore, have to explain who we are and what we do. Patients will often ask lots of medical questions with an initial enquiry, often about their knees, hips, feet and ankles.
It’s a really interesting and rewarding role, you get to speak to all sorts of people and try to help them with their conditions.
We reassure them that we work with top consultants at our Hospital and have everything under one roof to treat them; imaging, bloods, surgery, physiotherapy, paediatrics, outpatient clinics and our Casualty First urgent care centre. Everything is done at our Hospital.
Explaining things clearly makes people feel comfortable about coming here and also, we have a great reputation. After all, we’ve been doing this for over 160 years.
Even during the COVID-19 lockdown we were able to offer virtual consultations with our consultants. And once they’ve had that virtual contact, the next step is to get their imaging, or whatever tests are required, done. We were constantly providing that service throughout.
What I love about our Hospital is the people. The staff are amazing, everyone is so friendly and really accommodating. It’s very much like a family.
Before joining the Hospital I worked with all ranges of people, from kids to the elderly. I started as a nursery nurse with toddlers and pre-school kids, became a healthcare assistant working with young adults with mental health issues and then worked with older people providing personal care at a care home. My final position before joining here was as a care-coordinator and involved planning care for elderly in the domiciliary care field. Working in partnership with various professionals such as carers, social workers and councils formed part of the role to ensure that the service users were assisted to live fuller longer and more productive lives.
I was applying for jobs after I’d graduated when I spotted the Marketing Assistant position being advertised on LinkedIn. It was exactly what I wanted, so, in addition to sending my CV, I also took another copy and my portfolio to hand in at the Hospital reception. I wanted to make it known that I really wanted the job. I think that helped me in the end.
A lot of my family has worked in healthcare; my aunties, my uncles and my mother was a paediatric nurse, so I felt like I was familiar with the environment. Even though I studied history of art and publishing media, I feel like the skills I picked up at university have been really useful at the Hospital because my role is so varied.
Having just gone through a rebrand, I’m currently helping to update and change all the signage. I also help look after the website and have design responsibilities. Generally, I do lots of little jobs, including helping out with the marketing at St John’s Hospice. Whenever anyone needs a hand, I try to give my assistance.
I love our team so, so much. We all joined around the same time, which means we’re all learning and developing at the same time. I’m so lucky, you sometimes hear about people who have their dream job but they don’t enjoy it because of those around them. That’s not the case for me, the teamwork is an important aspect of why I enjoy what I do.
For my first job, I’m very privileged. It’s so interesting working in a hospital. You have to get your head around the fact you see patients every day but you get used to it very quickly. The people around you carry all the usual characteristics you might imagine of those working in a hospital; they are caring, positive and wanting to help people out.
One of my favourite parts is that our Hospital, via St John’s Hospice, benefits those who are less fortunate. I’ve had grandparents who’ve had dementia and Parkinson’s, and both received end-of-life care. I really appreciate the work that goes on at the Hospice and it’s only possible because of the funds raised by the Hospital, donations and our fundraising events.