What is your role?
“Modern Housekeepers are the eyes and ears on the ward. We keep a safe and healthy environment. I work Monday to Friday, 7am to 3pm. When I first get in I say good morning to the patients, open the curtains and so on. I check to make sure we have enough clean linen to change beds and I’ll tidy up the tables, that kind of thing.
“Then I’ll help with breakfast, make toast: I’m famous for my toast. And throughout the day, really keep on top of things, make sure there is enough linen, make beds and so on. Whatever the Sister needs I’ll do but with some experience, you get to know what needs to be done before they ask you.”
Why did you want to work here?
“I started working here 15 years ago, as a part-time domestic. It was just a bit of money to earn at the time but I grew to really like it more and more. I could see that it was really helping people and I liked that. You got a real sense of worth out of it. I’ve been on this ward, Ward 405, for 13 years and I know all the people here. I get on with people and there is a really strong sense of pride here. People work hard but they’re friendly; they’ve got time for you, staff and patients.”
What do you like about working in Derby Teaching Hospitals in particular?
“We go the extra mile here in Derby. That means doing more than we have to. We’ll make scones and jam and have those with the patients in the afternoons. We’ll sit with them doing their hair or their nails. These are the little things but they are the things patients remember.”
Why did you decide to take part in the programme?
“I wanted to show people what we do. We are so passionate about our jobs here in Derby. Yes, people complain and I’m sure you hear about that. But we really do care here and I wanted to be part of something which can really show people that side of things.
“My mum died of cancer nearly seven years ago. My sister and I had to go to the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary with her during that time and though we knew a little bit about what was going on with her, we learnt a lot. We just wanted her to be comfortable and the staff understood that.
“I come to work now and I see families in here and I know what they’re going through. And I think they can see that I understand them. It’s this I want people to see when they watch this programme.
“We want to treat people’s loved ones as best we can and that’s what we’re good at. We work on a normal ward doing normal jobs and we do what we can within that. On a hospital ward things could easily be doom and gloom but we manage to make it light for people. I really felt that work should be shown and that this programme had to be done.”
How was it working with the cameras and crew?
“We were very concerned that any patients who were going to appear had given their consent and we felt very responsible; a lot of the patients are very old and vulnerable.
“But the crews were really good with them and with us; we had a really good laugh throughout the filming and they were very respectful of the patients.
“The key thing we wanted was to show what we did every day. So when the producers suggested that I dress up as Elvis for one scene and that we had others dress as Abba, we said no. That wasn’t what happened, it would have been staged. We hold a 1940s –style tea party for the patients and so we asked that the crew filmed that and they did. We had a good relationship with the crew and they captured what really goes on.”
How do you think viewers will react to the programme – especially the parts you appear in?
“I hope people see the nice things we do, that we are caring people and that we love doing what we do. We enjoy being with patients, enjoy looking after people, making things better for them. I hope that comes across, how much we enjoy what we do.”