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I’m still helping others

Jo Penston is a Senior Clinical Administrator and usually works in our Living Well Centre helping to support patients and their carers and families when they’re visiting us for the day. Now she’s working to support our IT team. Here she shares how she’s been getting on in a different role to usual.

“My ‘day’ job was working in the Living Well Centre, working alongside my colleagues and volunteers to give our patients and their carers/families a calm and peaceful time whilst visiting the Living Well Centre, but when COVID-19 hit, everything changed and stopped overnight!. The Living Well Centre closed its doors and I was asked to work from home. I did this for two weeks and helped to set up the new Telephone Buddy Service. However, once that was done, I was then furloughed and left wondering what to do next.

Being furloughed made me feel very strange indeed, and if I’m honest, a little lost. So as was the same for many others, I promptly wrote a list of jobs I wanted to do and set about cleaning, sorting cupboards, baking and gardening to name a few. I even started doing online yoga! However, when you get back to the start of your list, you realise that maybe there’s more to lockdown than Zoflora and trying to track down flour!

So, when an email was sent asking if anyone would be able to help IT as a customer service adviser, it didn’t take me long to send in an email to register my interest. I thought it was something I’d be able to do as I like talking to people and also helping wherever possible. After a conversation with Paul Rooney, the head of IT, I was asked if I’d like to come in and help the department. I must admit, it gave me a really good feeling to be working again!

Ali, who works in our IT team full time, very kindly came in on my first day and started showing me some of the tasks the team would like me to take on as their onsite representative while they mainly worked from home doing all the techy stuff. My tasks included the backup tapes, answering the phone to those having any IT issues either onsite or at home, and handing out laptops, to name a few. I also had to have a crash course in MS Teams as that’s how the IT guys communicate. I must admit Google became my friend! Everyone in the team was very patient with me and didn’t make me feel that any question I asked was silly.

It has been a few weeks now. My confidence is growing and I’m able to help others without always having to refer them to the team. I’m really enjoying being the onsite person to help where I can, to enable my colleagues to work. I’ve even written some guides to help those working from home and with MS Teams. I see myself as a translator from ‘ICT’ language to ‘man on the street’ language!

This role is completely different from my previous role in the Living Well Centre where my conversations were with patients, their loved ones and volunteers. Now, I mainly have conversations with colleagues. However different this role might be, I’m still helping others and playing a part in helping our community, which is what we all do in our own way, and therefore still gives me that sense of pride to work for St Catherine’s.”

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