This week I am working away from my normal ward based job. For the next month I will be driving around 6 hospitals in New South Wales doing assessments on patients who are hoping to transfer into my hospital.
It's hard filling someone else's shoes. You have to step out of your comfort zone and learn quick. I come across so many different people when doing this role. I meet staff in other hospitals and get an insight into how their units work. I get to meet so many patients, young and old and all with a unique story to tell.
That's the bit I love. The getting to know, however briefly, another person, often at their most vulnerable. People who are bombarded by choices and change. Some don't want to see me. They just want to go home to their safe place. Some are lonely and need to talk, they squeeze my hand tight as I go to leave, scared and uncertain of what the future holds. Every now and again I feel like I have made a difference. It's so good to go back to a patient and tell then that I have a bed for them.
I did that today. A vibrant older lady who's daughter was torn about going overseas. Who's leg was in a cast with nothing but time needed before she could pick up the strands of her normal life again. I excused myself to answer a call, and on returning told her the bed was hers. She broke down in tears. Deep sobs that contagiously passed to her daughters and granddaughter around her. "I'm happy" she said "Silly tears, just happy ones"
I walked away with a lump in my throat. They're not just a number. Not just a successful empty bed filled. They have a story.