From reporter to porter!

19 October 2021

From pouring tea to endoscopy, Patricia’s journey at Kingston Hospital has been all about investing time in people and an organisation that she loves.

Patricia explains: “People say I live a double life. I was a multimedia journalist who has covered high profile news all over the world, but four years ago, I decided I wanted to give something back to my community, one that has made me so welcome since I came here from Brazil. I decided to volunteer at my local hospital. I was the one pushing the tea trolley and working in the coffee shop and now I am a porter and push a different sort of trolley!”

As a seasoned reporter, it comes as no surprise that Pat is interested in people’s stories, and where else is there a better example of life than a hospital? She said: “I am a different type of reporter when I am here, I report to the doctors and nurses and to the patients. We are like a family. I don’t see my job as pushing beds, I help people. As a porter you see people experiencing all emotions, the happiness of a new baby or some who are scared to go into surgery and maybe find out they have a serious illness. It is life in the extreme. Not forgetting that I’ve pushed those that have lost their lives to Rose Cottage, and it is a reminder to never take life for granted, you never know when your last day will be. It helps you appreciate life.”

Having been a porter throughout the hospital before settling in Endoscopy, Patricia had first hand experience of how precious life is as she worked throughout the first wave of the pandemic, she explained: “One of the most moving moments of that time was an older gentleman who called me over, he was so poorly and surrounded with so many machines I could hardly reach him. I explained that I wasn’t a nurse, but he said that’s ok, I’m really scared and just want to hold your hand. Even in my full PPE I could do that for him, something that simple can make such a difference. Every day I was pushing those that had lost their lives to the mortuary, and it was hard. I’ve worked as a journalist in some terrible conflicts, in Syria, Israel , Iraq…but seeing the effect of COVID-19 on our staff here was just as serious. We came together as a family, to support each other, in the middle of that storm.”

When asked about the highs and lows of working at the hospital, Pat is quick to answer: “meeting people, helping and caring for them and sharing their happiness as they get well. The worst is going back to check on a patient you have gotten to know and they’re not there anymore. Seeing a grieving family, that is really hard. As a porter you get the chance to get to know someone a little, they’re not just a body, a person, you see them with their loved ones, and you invest in them.”

When asked how Pat manages to relax after her busy day job, she says: “Living in this area and working at the hospital has given me the life I always wanted. I visited this area years ago with a friend and fell in love with it, and now I get to call it home. I love my job at the hospital and enjoy working on other projects at my own pace. I am lucky enough to meet people all day and hear their stories and to be a small part of each of theirs. It is a good life.”

Tell us how we are doing we'd love to have your opinion