My day starts at either 8am or 9am depending on my shift pattern. If I’m on early, I’ll head straight into the observation or blood rooms and get ready to see patients coming in for the earliest appointments. As a Healthcare Assistant in the Sutton Outpatient Department, I’m trained to take patients’ blood samples and to carry out observations, including height, weight, blood pressure or an electrocardiogram (ECG).

The blood room is one of my favourite areas to work in, as I get to see the patients one-to-one and make their experience a little easier. I try to be sympathetic – having blood taken every time you come to hospital isn’t particularly nice. I can see up to 50 patients a day in the blood room, and the observation room can be just as busy.

Catching up

If I’m on later, I join the morning meeting for the department’s clinical staff, where we’re updated about any last-minute changes to the patient roster and news from the Trust. We are also told of any patients who may have an infection risk, so we can help safeguard other patients.

Our day is split into morning and afternoon clinics – it’s often busy, with up to 80 patients in a single clinic. The chemotherapy clinics are usually the busiest – the time just seems to fly by. If I’m helping in a clinic, I’ll be responsible for keeping the consulting rooms topped up with the tools it needs to run efficiently. I make sure the pillows are clean and the rooms are tidy and fully stocked. We start seeing patients just after 9am and don’t stop until every patient has been attended to.

A friendly smile

To work in Outpatients, you need to be a people person. No matter how busy I am, I always smile and greet patients in a professional, friendly manner. This is the part of the job I love most, as I can see a patient through their whole journey. I take pride in the fact that I have a good memory for people, and will ask them how their holiday was or about their grandchildren.

I joined the Trust in 2010 after working in an office for years. I have a sense of achievement now that I never experienced before. I once had a patient who I carried out observations on after he was given some bad news in clinic. I asked why he was on his own and he said he didn’t want to burden his family.

I encouraged him to tell his loved ones so that they could support him. The next time I saw him, he introduced me to his wife who called me his ‘angel’. It made me feel lucky to have a job where I can make a difference.