I work on the respiratory ward at the Royal United Hospital as a Patient Support Assistant.
After Post 16 at Fosse Way School I went to Project Search for two years. Project Search is a programme to help young people with learning disabilities secure and keep paid permanent jobs. Students learn about different jobs and other employability skills, such as completing applications and having interviews. This gave me lots of experience on different wards.
When Project Search finished I wanted to work there. I looked for jobs on the NHS jobs website. I wanted to be a Patient Support Assistant but there weren’t any jobs.
I stayed at the hospital as a volunteer. I worked in the Friends Shop, where I did cleaning, restocking and computer scanning. I was also a Tour Guide. I was good at this because I had worked in different departments and could remember my way round very well. I volunteered on the Respiratory ward before I got the job.
Eventually a job came up and I applied and got it. I had a job coach that helped me. She came to the interview with me. She wasn’t there to answer questions for me but she helped me understand what the questions meant. She worded them differently so I could understand and then I answered.
If I hadn’t volunteered I wouldn’t have got the job. Everyone on the ward got to know me. I was able to show them that I could do the job. I may not have known about the job if I hadn’t volunteered.
I restock gloves, aprons, hygiene trolleys and the blood trolley (so that the Phlebotomists can use it on the ward). I help with lunches, teas and coffees. I restock the fridge with drinks for patients who can’t eat ordinary food and get jugs of water for patients who are thirsty.
I have a tick list with pictures of what I have to do to help me. Once I do a job I just tick ‘done’.
I have a Mentor who helps me and oversees the jobs that I do and Job Coaches help me by popping in and out. They help to explain new jobs to me.
The best part of my job is the patient contact, talking to them. Also, I’m paid. It’s good actually having my own money. It’s good experience. If I wasn’t working I’d just be at home on computer games.