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Published Tuesday 21 May 2024

Meet Administrative Extraordinaire Cecelia Wall.

We're shining a spotlight Cecelia Wall, who serves as one the Administrative Support in Hutt Hospital's Emergency Department (ED). Cecelia embodies the spirit of professionalism, resilience, and compassion that defines the role of administrative professionals in healthcare settings. Let's delve into Cecelia's journey, from her humble beginnings in the hospital laboratory to her pivotal role as the frontline liaison for patients and staff alike in the bustling ED.

Tell us about your role.  
My official title is Administrative Support in Emergency Department (ED) at Hutt Hospital. We’re the first point of contact for visitors to ED. We handle patient paperwork, provide information, and ensure smooth admissions not only for the ED but also for the entire hospital after hours, due to other reception teams not being staffed 24/7.

We work around the clock with various shifts, ensuring there's always someone available 24/7. Our roster includes early morning, midday, and late-night shifts to cover all bases.

How did you get into this role?
I’ve spent 37 years working at Hutt Hospital. The first 34 of those years I worked in the hospital laboratory specializing in blood bank. After a brief hiatus, I realized I missed the hustle and bustle of hospital life. COVID brought me back, as they needed people on the screening desks as you entered the hospital. From there I moved into ED reception and I haven't looked back since!

Why did you choose a career in healthcare originally? 
My Dad was a country GP and I thought about nursing but it didn't really appeal to me and so he took me to the local community hospital one day and gave me a day in the laboratory. I think he realized that I was more technically inclined. So I went off to do my training and kept going from there. 

How do you compare the two different roles, the two different sides of the hospital that you've been in? 
When I moved down to Emergency, I found that the pace and attention to details to be quite similar. The big difference is the interaction with people.

What do you love most about your role? 
It's the people! Whether it's patients, colleagues, or senior staff, the interactions keep us on our toes and make each day unique.

After 34 years working in the back room, it’s nice to now have the day to day interactions with patients and the whānau. Even though it's not their best day, I find it a really enjoyable experience. Maybe you can make their day just that fraction better even just with a smile and maybe a bit of a joke. 

It’s also been great to meet some of the ED staff who I had regular phone conversations with in my old role but had never met face to face.

What would you say is your biggest work achievement?
I originally did the Diploma of Medical Laboratory Technology many years ago. Once I moved into blood bank, I went and finished my degree while my kids were in their teens. That was a lot of work but I really enjoyed finishing the degree.

What are some challenges in your role? 
Time management is crucial, juggling multiple requests while ensuring timely responses for medical staff can be demanding but rewarding.

Also, dealing with tragedies has been unexpectedly challenging. While we may not know the individuals involved, the impact is profound.

What's something that you wish people knew about working in the ED reception? 
It’d be good if there was more understanding about how the department operates. Some expect immediate attention, but prioritizing is key when managing multiple tasks simultaneously.

What would you say to someone who wants to start a career in your role? 
Being people-oriented and maintaining a positive outlook are essential. It's important to handle challenging situations with grace and politeness, even when faced with frustration. Attention to detail and strong administrative skills are also key aspects of the role. Overall, if you enjoy interacting with people and are adept at managing various tasks, you'll find this role enjoyable and fulfilling.