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By Harkanwal Singh
Julie Burling loves coffee so much that even as she backpacks across Greece, she will be searching for hints to make better coffee for her customers at Waikato Hospital. After four years, she has grown accustomed to the rhythm of making coffee in an unusual setting.
To be honest, when I first started here, it really was a shock to the system because it is different when you’re working with the public. Here you have got people who are sick. We get people wandering around in their pajamas.
You see some really happy things and you also see some really sad things.
Here I think you’ve got to be little bit more aware that people have got stresses on them, doctors have got stresses on them and your job is to come in and give them a smile, you make coffee for them, those are really little things. This is what I try and tell the girls - it makes the day easier, they go away and enjoy a decent cup of coffee. And you know it takes five minutes of their worries, or whatever.
It is different here from when you are out in the public - like we had a cafe up in Kerikeri, where people are coming in and they’re getting coffee and they are just in out, in out.
It is a bizarre place to have an espresso bar tucked in the corner of a main entrance of the hospital but as somebody said it’s really nice because it doesn’t smell like a hospital, it kind of takes them out of the environment.
Your day goes really fast. It gets very noisy.
" Lifts don’t stop, people don’t stop. It’s just go. "And today, seriously, it’s a quiet day. Yesterday, it was just non-stop. Lifts don’t stop, people don’t stop. It’s just go.
Oh gosh, I don’t know how many cups I make. It varies. It can vary from about 150 to 200 every day.
The thing I like about my job – and I don’t realize it until a customer leaves – that they will come in and get a coffee, and they won’t say much. It is not till their patient gets better, and goes home, that they come in and they’ll go, ‘really appreciate that, I really enjoyed coming down, the coffee was great’.
If I get really good, I get to know what they want before they even get here. So, I can see them coming down the hall by the enquiries and if I am not busy, I’ll just set it all up and get everything ready. I’ve been only caught out once when they got into the lift and said ‘don’t want coffee today’. And I was like ah - but that’s okay, I can take it.
This is a part of the cafeteria – although I never do the cafeteria upstairs, this is my sole job. There’s a whole lot of girls upstairs and they do all the catering, making meals for people.
Take pride in your work, that’s another thing I tell the girls because if you are not making sandwiches and feeding the patients, visitors, and the doctors, nothing runs properly. So, even the tiniest small thing is important.
Just meeting people, just the different people you meet, a different face, or somebody will tell you something, that will give me the giggles for the day - probably makes the day memorable.
Going to Greece in seven weeks time, I can’t wait, can’t wait. Might even pick up some hints for coffee making.
I certainly don’t make coffee at home, I can tell you that. I have got a machine at home but my husband does that, I do not touch the coffee machine at all.