Walking up to 30,000 steps a day and knowing your way around one of Tayside’s biggest buildings like the back of your hand – it’s all in a day’s work for the porters at Ninewells Hospital.
Any patient who is moved in, out or around the hospital will meet one of the many porters who work there.
And two of them, Linda Tosh and Garry Millar, say one of the most important parts of the job is making sure patients are calm and relaxed when they are being transported for an important test or scan.
Linda Tosh, who has worked as a porter since October, said: “Most of the job is moving patients from A to B, moving them from an ambulance to the wards, or moving inpatients when they are going for a scan or an X-ray.
“Right now I am in the ambulance department so we need to be ready whenever an ambulance comes in with someone.
“I feel one of the biggest things in my job is making patients feel safe and comfortable and take their mind off any procedures they are about to get.
“My favourite things are walking and talking, so if a patient is feeling anxious we have a bit of banter with them.
“If you speak away to them, you can make things a bit more pleasant for them, particularly if they are upset.”
Gary added: “I used to work in engineering but this is one of the best jobs.
“It’s amazing the amount of people you meet.
“We are the main engine behind the hospital, if they didn’t have porters the place would stop.
“For every patient moved in this hospital, there is a porter involved at some point.
“Before we move a patient there is a lot of things we need to think about, like do they have enough oxygen, is the patient okay to be moved, do they have all the equipment they need?
“We also have to move patients when they have passed away, and people sometimes forget about that side of things at the hospital.”
The day in the life of a porter means being on your feet all day.
Linda said: “On a daily basis it can be anything up to 30,000 steps a day and I walk to and from work as well.
“When I was interviewed I said my main concern was getting lost, but apparently everyone has that fear in the beginning, but you quickly get used to it.”
Gary added: “We really need to know our way around.
“We often get doctors asking us to help them find their way, especially if they are new.
“You go through a lot of trainers.”
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Linda, Gary and all their colleagues continued to come into work every single day to make sure the hospital ran like clockwork.
Linda said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic our work didn’t change that much apart from having to wear PPE if you were moving someone who had it.
“But all the hand washing and things like that, we were doing that anyway.
“And you do get used to wearing a face mask – it can be a bit uncomfortable, but then you end up forgetting you even have one on.
“I can’t say I have ever felt unsafe during the pandemic.
“One time a Covid-19 patient was being discharged from the ICU and I was stood in the corridor when all the nurses stopped to give the patient a round of applause and I was able to join in.”
Gary added: “We had to get fitted with all the head gear and full PPE when we were moving Covid-19 patients to and from the ICU.
“But when there were the claps for the NHS, it was great, but the guys like us didn’t always get a mention yet we were here throughout the lockdown.”