Taamaki ki raro - Pam Eli

 “I don’t know how many people we see every day - but it’s a lot - hundreds of people, easily.

(In the 13 minutes for this interview eight different people approached Pam for help and directions, another just leaned over the counter to say “hello”)

“So, to help with that, we’re on different shifts. I work from Tuesday to Saturday

On Wednesday and Saturday I work from 7am to 2pm. I don’t work on Sundays and Mondays as they are my days off. My husband is a pastor here in South Auckland.

Basically, when people come here for their appointments, I direct them to the right location – you have to remember that Middlemore Hospital is a very big place, and it is easy to get lost here.

Or if people come to visit patients or relatives, we direct them to the right wards.

Sometimes we can help people when orderlies aren’t available – like helping people to find a wheelchair to get around the hospital more easily.

We do get some strange requests: some people ask if we can pay for their taxi fare, others ask if we can pay for their parking:  people think we deal with car parks, but it’s not what we do.

I used to work in a factory here in South Auckland, but I love talking to people, so I’ve been working here at Middlemore for the past three years.

I love meeting and greeting people with a big smile. I am a people person.

(Pam calls everyone “darling”).

“Some people come back to us and say, “Thank you”. We didn’t know what they were going through, but when they see us smile it makes a difference for them.

So, helping people and approaching them in a positive and a good manner is important. Some people come in here and they look oppressed and unhappy, so we should know how to approach them.

We have a responsibility to direct people to the right place to their appointments, because if you don’t send them to the right place they’re going to come back and there’s a risk they will swear at you, although that’s never happened to me!”

Pam Eli
Receptionist – Middlemore Hospital main information desk

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