A day in the life of a specialty coordinator


As a specialty coordinator, Marie provides admin support to our Therapy and Living Well teams. She is one of the welcoming faces greeting patients and their families and supporting them through a difficult time. Our administration teams are at the heart of our hospice, and we hope you enjoy reading a busy day in the life of Marie.

7:00 I leave home, catch the bus to Headington, and walk over to Sobell House. It’s Wednesday morning; I arrive before the Therapy and Living Well teams, so I check their offices and the Living Well room. We have a session taking place today, so I like to ensure the room is welcoming and warm enough for the patients when they arrive.

8:00 I’m saying ‘good morning’ to my colleague Ken when we notice the barrier on the car park over the road isn’t raising to allow people to leave. We wander on over to see if we can help. There is a fault, so I ask the drivers to use the entrance to exit the car park on this occasion while Ken calls security to ask for advice. Security arrives, the barrier is fixed, and we continue with our morning!

8:30 My office sits just off main reception and I see Craig, a patient who has been with us for a week or so. Craig likes to pop out the front to watch the world go by and get some fresh air. I’ve helped him on a few mornings; he’s getting used to his wheelchair but finds it tiring, and asks if I could help him back to his room. I wheel him down the corridor, chatting as we go, and he asks if I would be kind enough to help him with his blankets when he gets settled on his bed. We continue chatting and he says to me ‘this place isn’t what I expected’. I ask what he means and he tells me that his perception of what Sobell House would be like compared to what he has experienced is very different. He had been worried to come here but now he was sad to be going home as he had been looked after so wonderfully. I go to leave and tell Craig that I will see him around throughout the day.

9:00 I check in with the Therapy and Living Well teams to ask if there is anything they need before I start on my own tasks for the day. They have a couple of requests, including checking used equipment is ready for collection so it can be returned to the supplier, and ensuring the reception team are aware of a visitor popping into Living Well today, so I go about doing these.

9:15 I receive a call from Dotty to say she hasn’t had a good night and won’t be able to attend today’s Living Well session. I go to the transport office to cancel her volunteer transport.

I check all the mailboxes and actions for the teams and upload the new referrals we’ve received. An urgent referral has been made for the Therapy team – I tell the Coordinator so that she can plan to see the patient as soon as possible.

10:00 The patients for today’s Living Well session start to arrive with volunteer transport. I say ‘good morning’ to everyone, and have a quick chat with some. I head back to my office to deal with more incoming requests, calls and emails.

10:45 I’ve just taken a call from Jack who has asked for help with collecting equipment from his home as his wife sadly passed away the day before. I give him my condolences and we talk about his wife and what kind of equipment he has. There are only small items that were issued from our Therapy team, and I know our transport team will be able to collect them. I take Jack’s details and explain that volunteer transport will pick up these items and will call him back to arrange a time. He asks if they could be collected as soon as possible as they are a reminder of his late wife. I speak to our transport manager Ron straight away and explain the situation that Jack is in. Ron agrees to contact him and collect the equipment that day if it works for Jack.

11:00 A delivery of stock, including commodes, overbed tables, and zimmer frames has arrived for the Therapy team. I speak with the driver who hands over today’s delivery sheet. I ask the Therapy team if they need help logging the items and placing them in the storeroom. They are OK for now, but I will check in again later as their day can change so quickly.

11:30 I join an online team meeting with the other administrators.

12:30 Lunchtime! My colleague Hilary is on reception today, so I cover the desk for her to take a well-earned break. A lady arrives in reception and takes a seat on the sofa – this is very common, relatives and friends will arrive from the ward for a break, a chat or to make calls. I ask the lady, who looks upset, if there is anything I can do to help her or if she would she like a hot drink. I go to the kitchen to make her a cup of tea and she starts telling me about her daughter who is a patient on the ward.  Her daughter is young and has been unwell for some time – she is a ‘fighter’ and overcome so much but she feels she can’t fight anymore. As a mum, she wants to take her daughter’s pain away but doesn’t want to lose her. We keep chatting and she thanks me for the drink and for listening.

13:00 I take a lunch break and get away from my desk for 30 minutes.

14:00 Today’s Living Well session is over and everyone starts to leave. Patients have spent the day chatting to staff and each other, creating art, enjoying some gentle exercise and listening to music. I wish everyone goodbye and tell them I’ll see them next week.

15:00 I continue with my tasks before I leave for the day.

16:00 Time to go home, but I check in again with the teams to see if there is anything I can help with before I leave, including ensuring all the rooms are closed for the evening. It’s been a good day at Sobell House, varied as always, but I feel so lucky to be here to listen to people, to help the teams and feel like I’m giving something back all at the same time. So, until tomorrow, I’m signing off for the day!

Patient names have been changed.