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.”