Having joined Project SEARCH in September, I am now coming up to the end of my first rotation at Whipps Cross Hospital. Over the past few months, I have spent my time working in the Medical Engineering department which has been a tremendous experience.
All the staff I have met so far have really supported me on my journey and I owe a big thanks to everyone who has taken the time to train me up in everything I need to know.
Through my role I have developed my problem-solving skills and learnt how to fix different medical machines on the wards that are not working properly. Firstly, I have to get to the bottom of what’s wrong with the equipment and where the fault is. I then decide if it’s something we can mend ourselves in the workshop or if we need to send the equipment back to the manufacturer.
Whilst most of the machines I work on are low risk, I am often able to shadow and learn from the talented members of my team when they handle some of the medium and high-risk machines. I’m a very visual person so if I’m shown a process, rather than given a set of written instructions, I can always remember the steps that need to be followed.
One of the tasks I am most proud of is helping to build two Central Computer and Monitoring Systems (CCMS). This involved getting all the necessary parts out of the packaging, assembling the side plates and securing the last few bolts at the end.
I have also learnt how to assemble and test brand new medical equipment, including Electrocardiogram (ECG) Machines, and how to decommission medical equipment that is no longer in use.
If I ever make a mistake, a member of my team is always there to give me advice on how to rectify it; sometimes I can be a bit shy asking for help but it’s something I am working on and getting better at.
It has been really rewarding to see the progress I have made since I started the programme. Project SEARCH is about who you are as a person; not about your disability. What you show on the job placement is your true self and that’s what people see you as.
At the beginning I was learning the ropes and doing a lot of watching and listening. But now, for example, I am fully responsible for doing electrical safety tests on the medical equipment without any supervision. I have become a trusted member of the department and enjoy getting involved as much as I can.
I am particularly happy with the feedback I have had from my colleagues; they have said that I am a very quick learner and a great team player. I know that if I want to earn the respect of the people around me I need to show them respect first which is why I always strive to be polite, calm and helpful.
I take great pride in my work and want to make sure I continue to add value to the hospital. I am determined to keep learning and growing so I am looking forward to moving on to my next rotation and bringing with me all the knowledge and qualities I have gained so far.