Paula Betterton Estates & Ancillary Winner 20219th February 2022
This week we talk with Paula Betterton from West London NHS who won for Estates & Ancillary at the 2021 Unsung Hero Awards. Paula talks to us about her stand-out achievements during the time of Covid, as well as the additional duties that she took on. We also find out what winning an Unsung Hero Award meant to her.
Hi Paula, can you explain how your day-to-day working life changed significantly during the Pandemic?
During the early stages of the pandemic our Portering Supervisor was requested to shield due to his vulnerability. Due to my knowledge and experience I kind of stepped into an unofficial ‘acting up’ role to support the department. We had to look at new ways of delivering patient transport to ensure the safety of patients and staff alike.
What were the additional duties that you supported with during Covid?
Supporting the department with the implementation of new safety measures on site. Supporting the Trust with sorting and delivering Scrubs to all areas of the Hospital, as well as deliveries and collection of PPE to various sites. Training new agency staff as the manpower requirement increased. Learning how to enhance clean areas and vehicles to ensure these are safe to use after transporting Covid-positive patients.
What would you say was your ‘stand out’ achievement since, as quoted from your nomination, you “took control” of the Portering Department early in the Pandemic?
Proving to myself that I have what it takes to run a team, to see that I can respond well to work pressures and new challenges and not being afraid to take on additional responsibilities.
Do you feel that with the additional duties you took on, that your skills and competencies improved as a result?
I believe that they did, as if anything the situation highlighted that I can thrive under pressure and the experience of stepping into a new role on such short notice has also boosted my confidence. I feel that I have developed considerably since the beginning of the experience.
Do you feel Non-Medical roles have become better understood outside of the NHS after the enormous light shone on all Healthcare workers recently?
I believe that they are better understood not only outside the NHS, but also within. The pandemic highlighted that all roles in Healthcare are essential and necessary. I have noticed that the profile of Estates and Facilities, for example, has increased due to the recognition of the importance of such roles within the health sector during the pandemic.
How did it feel to win for Estates & Ancillary at the 2021 Unsung Hero Awards?
It was a shock; I wasn’t expecting it. It felt very nice, it felt that I had been recognised for everything that I had done recently. The win was well received and I met the judge for my category [Amanda Piper] and her words made me cry! She told me that as soon as she read my nomination, she felt that I was a woman after her own heart.