"I would sit in the courtyard at lunch and I was proud of what I was doing. Proud that people in the hospital who did not know who I was before, now knew who I was, and I knew them."
As part of our support to our hospital teams during the COVID-19 pandemic, Melisa Montagnon temporarily swapped her role as a GP and Consultant Liaison Manager to support the housekeeping team at Nuffield Health Guildford Hospital. She tells us about her experiences:
Melisa, why did you accept the opportunity to be redeployed?
I felt it was an opportunity to support and be an active part in the pandemic. No one knew how long this situation was going to last and it would give me a new challenge. I was redeployed from being GP and Consultant Liaison Manager to working front-line in housekeeping on the wards at Guildford Hospital. This included maintenance and a supportive role to the nurses, ward administration and outpatient department.
Tell us about the role you are doing? What do you enjoy about it?
The main area that I was assigned to was with the housekeeping team and working with people who knew and were comfortable with their chosen role. I was suddenly propelled into wearing scrubs, in an infection prevention role which was, and still is crucial. The challenges were that I was completely out of my comfort zone and had to take the lead from new colleagues in a different department, it was like being a new girl in a whole new profession and that gave me the positivity I was seeking during this time.
I would sit in the courtyard of the hospital at lunch and was proud of what I was doing. Proud that people in the hospital who did not know who I was before, now knew who I was, and I knew them.
I loved knowing I was doing a good job however, emotionally, some days were hard so I told my story on Yammer which helped me and so others who feared being put out of their comfort zone would know what to expect. It would make them a better person, as it did me.
How was your redeployed role different to your usual role as GP and Consultant Liaison Manager?
Completely different. My usual role is to increase referrals to the hospital through marketing, education, training, events and engage with key stakeholders such as GP’s and allied health professionals which is all field and desk-based. This involves promoting our consultants and treatments to build referral pathways.
Did you learn anything useful for your usual role?
You learn something new from anything new or out of your comfort-zone. However, learning other people’s jobs and understanding all departments in your organisation is beneficial to any role. With me I learnt what happened on the ward from watching, asking questions and volunteering to assist.
I saw the consultants that I promote and work with in my usual role carrying out their clinical role on the hospital wards and they saw me. I gained credit from all of them, and it’s helped with our relationship when I see them now for a virtual event. I also have more of a relationship with the clinical team and was able to give them an insight into my role. We have all gained respect for each other.
I learnt to value other people’s roles within the hospital and how that would be valuable to my role. Appreciation of other colleagues is an imperative part of any organisation even if you are not directly working together you are all providing the same end goal. Also, remember everyone has their strengths and that is why they chose the job that they do.
What would you say to someone else at Nuffield Health who is being redeployed?
Firstly, I was given a role which was completely out of my comfort zone and skill set of experience. This was not easy for me to accept initially, however, take the challenge as it is not a challenge unless you are put out of your comfort zone.
Respect the department you have been redeployed to and ask for their support and understanding, they will be just as challenged by you being there too. Turn all negatives you are faced into a positive and be proud because it is a brilliant thing you are doing.