Completing almost a decade in an organisation is no small feat. In her nine years with the organisation, NHS Pathways trainer Suzana Jameel tells us what it’s like training people from different walks of life.
All new starters in the organisation – NHS 111 Health Advisors (non-clinical Call Handlers) and Clinical Advisors (nurses and paramedics) – must undergo rigorous training when they first join HUC, to familiarise themselves with the NHS Pathways software, which supports the process for providing patient care on the phone. Suzana is an integral part of our HUC training team. And what she enjoys most is seeing the colleagues she has trained at work.
“You have people from varied professions and backgrounds, and they’re all taught the same material. I teach as if they know nothing, so even the clinicians, nurses and paramedics have to put aside all they have learnt in the past and prioritise on NHS Pathways,” she specifies. “It’s almost like learning a different language,” she laughs. “What’s lovely is you actually see the group dynamic and how people get along with each other and later become good friends and close colleagues,” she adds.
Suzana generally works in two roles at HUC – as a Lead Trainer for Luton and Bed-fordshire, and as an Assistant Shift Manager for Hertfordshire, which gives her the insights into services she needs for her training role.
“I initially started off as a Health Advisor and quite quickly within a couple of months became a Coach and then a Trainer. I’ve been a Trainer for about eight years, conducting sessions at all the different HUC sites,” she says.
“Before HUC, I worked as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for 15 years developing medicines in research and development, and it was all laboratory-based. However, I wasn’t very suited for that as you can see, I talk a lot,” she chuckles.
“My family are all from the medical background and they have worked for the NHS. So, I knew what I wanted to do it, but didn’t know how to go about it. Sometimes you have to really make that leap if you want to change, and I did and there’s been no looking back. I really enjoy what I do.
“I can proudly say I’ve trained 90 percent of the colleagues at the Bedford contact centre and to know they are doing great, and progressing is very heart warming,” she states.
So, what’s her day like? NHS Pathways training follows a set pattern defined by the software itself. To train a Health Advisor, for example, it takes about three weeks of teaching in a course environment and one week of ‘buddy shifts’, where they sit with their coach and take live calls. Suzana then progresses on to the next group and starts again.
Among her many achievements, one that makes Suzana extremely proud is winning the Rising Star award in 2019. “While I wasn’t around to collect the award in person, it was very special to win. HUC is an amazing place to work, and everyone is very supportive and helpful,” she says.
When asked what qualities a person needs to have to be a trainer, she says, “You have to be very passionate about what you do. Your responsibility is to train people so that they can assess patients, so you have to make sure that you are up to date with everything and offering the right advice, as patient care and safety is priority.”
“I work very closely with the Contact Centre Managers and the Quality and Improvement team, so you have to be able to work with lots of different people. There are people with anxiety sometimes – it’s challenging to be on the phones after all -, so you have to be compassionate and have empathy and support them,” she elaborates.