Geoff's New Job

I think many of you know me by now – Geoff Walker – I have been a Health Care Assistant on Penarth Ward for the last 18 months or so. Before that I did a similar job on Tenby Ward, and I have worked at the clinic since July 2014
I have really enjoyed my work on the wards and had no intention of considering leaving Penarth.
When a vacancy came up on the Activity Co-ordinators’ Team I couldn’t resist having a try. I applied and was interviewed last November…….
And in December I was confirmed in the job!
I started on January 16th.
I knew a little about what the role involved as I see the AC’s working with patients most days. But, as with any new job, you only start to appreciate what’s involved when you actually do it. I was fortunate being an internal appointment that I am familiar with the clinic, know my colleagues and, most importantly most of the patients, having got to know them, seeing them around the clinic, over the last few weeks and months.
It’s also been really helpful “shadowing” my new colleagues to get to know what I need for my new role.
For example I’ve been learning about the running of the shop, what’s needed for community leaves (I was already a designated driver, which is useful for leaves away from the clinic) and how my new rota will work so that I can be involved with activities across all the wards.
Some things were just “parked” waiting to happen. For example the existing music group was just itching to get started up again – and we have arranged this straight away. (If any new patients want to have a go at music then let me know and, subject to having the required leaves, we’ll see what we can do.

I am also looking forward to linking up with my colleagues in the OT department to help with gardening activities across the clinic. Much excellent work has already been done in Ward courtyards, but it would be great to see this extended across all the wards. There’s lots to be done preparing the beds, starting off plants from seeds and cuttings, raising new plants (flowers and vegetables) planting out then looking after it all afterwards.
Hard work, but the rewards are tremendous.
With this in mind I will be round looking for volunteers soon…………
So what is different now?
First thing to say is that I do miss the close working with a staff team and patients on a single ward. I knew that would happen, however this new role has opened up opportunities to work with a wider range of people, patients especially, and to share experiences of many more activities.
I have been lucky to have done a few things in the last few years. As a result of this I have a few interests – can I say skills? – to share with the wards
Most people know I have a keen interest in diet and health; I happen to follow a meat and dairy free diet myself and am happy to share experience of this. However the importance isn’t just what you eat - it’s a balance of what you choose to eat that matters. Maybe give me the chance to show you that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet – or even including this variety in your current diet - is NOT boring! I also happen to grow a lot of my own food on an allotment and we can easily replicate this here at Caswell albeit on a smaller scale perhaps. It fits in with the gardening mentioned earlier; we are always looking for new helpers.

I run a little so I know the value of exercise, in whatever form; my colleagues in the AC’s have much better experience of this aspect than me. Just ask us for help.
I already mentioned the music – I play guitar and record music a little – and it’s good to share this. Whatever your level of ability think about giving it a go. Ask me if you’re interested.
I believe what’s important is to make new activities available to any patient in the clinic, irrespective of their experience, ability and their level of leaves – by trying to do a range of things which can be done at ward level, clinic level, or outside. I am looking forward to meeting all the patients and staff across all the wards as soon as possible and have been trying to get round as much as I can in the first week or so. Mainly because I also want to know what patients’ priorities are – if I can help I will.
I will always try to find a way to say “yes” rather than a reason to say “no”.
By Geof