As Ward Support Team Leader at the Alfred Hospital, Elizabeth Tefera, knows her way around the hospital’s wards like the back of her hand.
“I started here when Spotless won the contract 14 years ago. We’ve got a really good team here and a very multicultural environment with many opportunities for people of all backgrounds.”
Ensuring quality care for patients within wards that are often busy and demanding requires a special set of skills – particularly people skills and managing relationships. “I’m a good listener, helpful and caring, which is important in my job,” she says.
Prowess in planning, problem-solving and quality control is equally critical. “I really enjoy the challenges that come with performing my role and having the responsibility to solve any problems that arise — sometimes I enjoy it so much I don’t even notice when my shift ends!”
But what truly satisfies her, is playing a part in ensuring patients recover. “What really makes me feel good is when patients from the intensive care unit get discharged and get to go home because the care we have given them has helped them get better. I like to think our team plays an important role in assisting and supporting their recovery, in addition to the care they receive from the doctors and nurses.”
As a trade chef in one of Australia’s busiest hospitals, the Bendigo Hospital, Helen Nish rarely stays in the same spot for long. “I work all over the kitchen; cooking, preparing, serving, plating – anything and everything that’s involved in food.”
“No two days are ever the same. Today will be different from tomorrow, and there’s always a new challenge, whether it’s a function or catering for dietary requirements – if we don’t cook the food, the patients don’t get the right nutrition, which is critical to their recovery.”
Her favourite experience is an easy one to guess. “I really enjoy the pastry section, because I love cakes and sweets – and we’re allowed to taste test! Plus, we’ve got a good bunch of people here in the kitchen, which makes coming to work a joy.”
Rhett Canfield has seen the Bendigo Hospital through its inception, having helped build the facility two years beforehand. Now, he works as a resident carpenter: “I fix anything that’s broken – it could be little jobs like fixing blinds to larger jobs like pulling doors off to refit them.”
Rhett takes great responsibility in making sure the hospital is functional and aesthetic. “If the hospital is looking a million dollars, it makes the patient’s stay more enjoyable.” Along the way, he also enjoys meeting new people: “I enjoy interacting with the patients, when we go into their rooms to fix things like drawers and windows – seeing a friendly face or interacting with them in a positive way can bring a bit of sunshine into their day."
As one of two maintenance electricians onsite at the Bendigo Hospital, Daniel Cluff enjoys the diversity of his work. “Whether it’s working on new equipment or changing light tubes – every day brings a new challenge.”
Daniel plays a critical role in ensuring the electrical side of things at the hospital runs smoothly, from responding to reactive jobs like machinery breakdowns and power outages to completing preventative maintenance. “It's important that reactive jobs are done in a timely manner,” explains Daniel, “but also that we’re constantly working in the background to maintain equipment and reduce machine breakdowns, so that patients who require MRI or CT scans are treated as scheduled.”
A Bendigo local for almost thirty years, Chris Phillips has a long and rewarding history with the city’s hospital. “I’ve worked in the waste-management area at the hospital for 20 years, spanning the old facility and the new one. For two of those years, I’ve been employed by Spotless.”
Over the course of his career, Chris’ job has been transformed by the introduction of AGV’s, which help by “bringing us the dirty linen, rubbish and infection bins. I unload them, swap them over with fresh bins and crates for the linen and send them off.”
While his job is largely solitary, it comes with a freedom that Chris appreciates, and feels many other jobs don’t provide. “Virtually, you’re your own boss in a way – you just go about your business.” At the same time, his work is the unseen yet indispensable kind that keeps the hospital functioning. “I don’t have a huge amount of contact with the patients in my area, but ours is the behind-the-scenes job that makes the patient stay enjoyable, as we ensure the hospital is clean and hygienic.”
The Bendigo Hospital holds a special place in Hsa Ree’s heart. “When I first arrived in Bendigo from Burma, I was pregnant with the first of my two children, and I had them both here at Bendigo Hospital.”
Now a Food Services Assistant at the hospital, Hsa loves interacting with patients and colleagues, as it allows her to practice her English and her pronunciation. “I came to work at the hospital through a multicultural employment program, and I feel so lucky to be here. This job has taught me so much.”
Hsa is involved in many areas of food service, from washing dishes in the kitchen and plating the food, to cleaning up the food-prep areas and stacking the trolleys with meals. While the work is varied and interesting, what Hsa most loves about her job is the team. “The nice people make coming to work a pleasure.