We’re looking at the power of social media today, with the story of Kenil Shah, who joined us recently as a Health Advisor in our Welwyn Garden City contact centre.

Just five months ago, Kenil came across an advert on LinkedIn that intrigued him. A healthcare organisation was looking for passionate people to support their services – this, of course, was HUC. And as a recent graduate in Biomedical Science, Kenil was instantly hooked. “I was going to do a Masters – I still will – but this hands-on experience working with patients was something I definitely wanted to give a go. It’s hard to come by proper work experience in my field.”

And that’s how Kenil, having only just celebrated his graduation, became a Health Advisor for NHS 111 in Hertfordshire, fresh from his undergraduate studies at the University of Warwick. For the first three months of his HUC tenure, he worked for us via the ICG recruitment agency. Earlier this month, he joined us as a fully fledged employee.

“My experience with HUC has been amazing from the start. Everyone has been so supportive and really looked out for me. This is my first full-time job and I feel very lucky to start my professional life this way – all colleagues I’ve come across so far have been so welcoming and friendly, it’s been wonderful.

“Really, I’ve always wanted to work in healthcare, during my studies I’ve spent lots of time in labs and my biology A-Level also helped me get ahead of the training here at HUC. But obviously, it’s much more frontline than anything I’ve ever done.”

Kenil still plans to continue with his Masters degree and has just been accepted at Imperial College in London, starting in October. “I’m really loving it here though, so when the time comes I may think about how I can combine both working here and my studies.”

Is there anything he didn’t expect when joining the NHS? “What surprised me most when I started here is just how busy it is – when you’re not working in the NHS, you hear the stories and watch the news but you can’t really appreciate the pressures until you’re working in the service. And it has been non-stop since I started – but I really like it. You have to give it your full attention and it’s a lot of responsibility. One thing I enjoy especially is the team spirit, we all work hard to make sure our patients get the best service possible.”

And Kenil is proud of the difference he makes. “It’s odd to think there are people walking around out there who I’ve been able to help in what was probably a really distressing situation for them – and they remember my voice calming them down in that moment. Maybe that memory will be with them for the rest of their lives: There was a case recently where a patient called with mental health issues and when I said my name he immediately remembered me from a previous call where I’d managed to help him. It was a really lovely experience.”

“Above all, really, helping patients is just so rewarding – and the life experience you get here is second to none, guiding people from all backgrounds through really serious situations. It also makes you grateful for what you have,” he concludes.

All that is left to say is a warm welcome to Kenil and many others who have joined us recently, not only via social media. Like Kenil you are all making a real difference to our patients and to your colleagues. Thank you for what you do and we hope that like him you enjoy your time with us.