Admin support, Breast Care Centre
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I’ve been here since 2010. Before this I was a courier dispatcher for six years.
My husband is a medical radiology technician and, because he was working here, I thought about working here too. I saw the satisfaction he got in his job, helping people, and thought I’d like to do something like that.
Even if you are not a doctor or nurse, everyone here is an integral part of the functioning of the hospital. Because there are thousands of people working here, I thought ‘there has got to be a job going that would suit me’.
I’m really a receptionist, but we like to refer to ourselves as “tech-ers”.
The tech-er component of the position is to hang 78 (mammogram scan) films per day for the radiologists to read.
On those days we come in early, about 7am, to check the sensitometry of the film processor.
There are usually four films per woman, and we hang the current episode then two episodes back, so that’s eight per person.
Women with bigger boobs have bigger films and we use a different machine for displaying those films.
The radiologists come here to read the films, and they will either be cleared, or, if they see something suspicious (in the mammogram film) the lady will be called back.
It’s a very thorough process as we don’t want to miss anything.
There are six of us that share the tech-er role.
It’s very physical and repetitive.
We get paid back rubs once a week on Friday which is nice.
If I’m on reception then it’s flat tack. You’ve got people coming in all day and lots to do, not just greeting people.
We have to pull all the files out, put labels on files, there’s always something that needs doing.
" It’s been really fascinating learning about breast cancer... "
It’s been really fascinating learning about breast cancer and the pathways people can take to our centre.
Technology and how important imagery is in diagnosing cancer was something new to me.
Breast cancer affects women of all ages, and men too.
You see young people, as young as 17, and older people.
Most people who come here are fairly positive.
If you’ve gone to your GP (general practitioner) with a lump you might be referred here. Some women come here for a yearly check up if they have had breast cancer in the past.
We do screening mammograms through BreastScreen Aotearoa, which is a free programme for women aged 45 to 69.
We also have three mobile screening units which travel throughout the Midlands region, which is a huge area – Coromandel across to just above Gisborne and over to Turangi and Taumarunui.
Quite often we have to stay away overnight, and they put us up in a motel. I’ve been to out-of-the way places that I’d never been to before – Murupara, Opotiki.
It’s important to get the service out there and provide easy access to ladies in more remote, rural areas.
It’s difficult sometimes to get Maori women along, they don’t want their bodies exposed to someone not themselves or whanau. But we try to get the message out there because we are saving women’s lives and that’s important. Early detection of breast cancer is the best prevention.
In my free time I lead the Wai Taiko drummers. I lived in Kyoto, Japan for a year in 1995 when I was in high school, which is when I learnt taiko drumming.