Going through a global health crisis over the past year, probably many of us considered starting or moving into a career in the health industry. If you're thinking in that direction, it's good because both the industry and people need your support now more than ever.
If you are more about numbers, paperwork and organisation, there is still a great demand in health. Working in the health industry does not include just nurses and doctors. One of the career paths you can look into is health administration.
We spoke directly to Jenny Davis, who has vast experience in this field. Read further to find out all of her insider tips, tricks and advice.
Jenny Davis: Mental Health Admin Officer
Can you shortly describe a typical day on the job?
I answer all telephone calls in the mental health unit. I greet and assist all the patients, families and carers. I order all the stationary and medical supplies. I do a lot of data entry on patient files. I prepare correspondence and emails to be sent to external organisations.
Why did you choose this as your career?
I have worked in NSW Health for a total of 12 years. I have worked across a range of departments, and every job in the field has been a unique experience. I chose health as it is a rewarding job, knowing I play a small part in helping the community. I have worked in maternity, rehabilitation, respiratory and now mental health. The job challenges me, and it is also very satisfying. I am the patients first point of contact, and it’s rewarding to know that you have made their day a little easier. I have a great rapport with all our patients.
What would you say are three key personality aspects or skills that contributes to success/good performance in your career?
Excellent office skills, such as typing fast and accurately. I am proficient in Microsoft programs too. Patience is very necessary, clients can sometimes get quite aggressive and demanding. They all have mental health issues, and it’s important to be patient with them and let them be themselves. Being a good listener also helps, as a lot of my phone calls are clients calling to talk about their frustrations and just want someone to vent to. I just listen and reassure them, what might seem like a small problem to me could be a massive hurdle to them.
What have you learned about yourself through the work that you do?
I have learnt I am able to communicate and connect with people from all walks of life and how to have more empathy.
What’s been your best moment while doing your work?
The best moments are always when I help a client who may have been angry or upset, and after I have engaged with them to help solve their issue I see them smile.
And a difficult moment?
It’s really difficult when I hear about a client who I see almost every day for years has taken their own life.
How do you keep going when things get challenging?
My great team. We all help each other and lift each other’s spirits.
Are there any surprising or odd things that people wouldn’t expect if they picked this career?
Probably how different we all are, how we all have issues in our own lives. We are all different in so many ways but also have so many similarities.
Can you share a funny or weird story about something you experienced while working on a project?
We have a client who comes in every day for her medication, and she always sits in the waiting room and sings. It brings a smile to our faces. She also tells me some really fun stories like how she is more famous than Mariah Carey. She always sings Wind Beneath My Wings. It brightens my mornings.
What advice would you give to someone considering pursuing a career in this industry?
That it is a very rewarding career but also very confronting. Be patient. Be kind. Be careful with your words. Have thick skin. Anything you say can affect the patients. This job can also make a huge impact on your mental health, and that it’s okay to have a mental health day of your own every now and then.
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