I wake up, bounce out of bed and hop straight into the shower. I’m so excited for my day, I’m even humming a tune whilst I put my make up on and do my hair. I have to be at the Public Sector Commission at 8.15am for an 8.30am tour bus departing.
I pack lunch boxes for my four children, discuss the after-school plan, who is going where and doing what. I make my husband a coffee and confirm that he is picking up two of our four children.
I am out the door in a rush as I need to get to the train station to board the 7.30am train. I am also wondering how much money is left on my SmartRider and if I will have enough time to reload the card. I slightly panic about it now; it’s been a couple of weeks since I was going into Landgate’s Perth Business Office via the train. What if I miss my train?! I spend the near hour driving to work singing to songs from Spotify, as I thought I had bookmarked a TED talk I wanted to listen to but did not have the time to find it.
I park and run to the parking machine to pay with my SmartRider. Great! I think it has $2 for parking on it! I enter the train station and see the reload machine, I look intently and scan the board and see I have three minutes until the train leaves. I reload my SmartRider; to my surprise, I have enough credit on it for a one-way trip to Perth. I tag on as I enter and find a spot on the train. I get to Perth Train Station and rush out hoping to catch the very next red CAT bus. I’m so lucky, I walk out of the train station, cross the road and run the last 15 metres to hop onto the waiting bus.
I arrive just in the nick of time at the Public Sector Commission and meet my fellow Cohort A Graduates. Everyone appears frazzled and stressed, but all are excited about the tour of the Perth Children’s Hospital. I look around for my fellow Landgate Graduate and a little panic sets in as she is not here yet. I quickly message her and ask how far away she is. To my delight, she appears within a minute behind me!
All the grads hop on the bus and the road trip begins. The bus is noisy, and everyone is talking, there is a real buzz in the air. We swap stories on each other’s experiences and general banter about life as a grad in the different agencies. The Public Sector Commission Graduate Program brings together grads across various disciplines in an intense environment with many opportunities.
We arrive at Perth Children’s Hospital and are met by the Director of the Office of the Chief Executive in the foyer. She is lovely, warm and welcoming. She gives a brief overview of the building and the fact they have only been in this building for nearly a year. She then invites us to get a coffee or a bite to eat, if we wish.
Vanilla Chai Latte in hand, I walk with my cohort to the auditorium on level 5. The Director gives us insight about the areas as we pass them.
A lovely talk is presented by the Executive Director of Health Service Management, which everyone relates to, as a lot of government agencies experience similar problems. He told us about the facilities, the staff and how Perth Children’s Hospital is only one portion of the agency which makes up Child and Adolescent Health.
A presentation is then made by the Co-Director Medical Services, explaining the hospital from more of a data-driven perspective. It really makes you think about what goes into making a hospital run. I can draw parallels between their business and ours at Landgate, especially after being placed in the Customer Service arena in my first rotation.
We then hear from the Co-Director Surgical Services, who provided even more food for thought. It is interesting to see some of the departments they have which you know must exist, but you never see them. As an indigenous woman, I am uplifted by their work in the first nation people’s space.
Morning tea is served. It’s a great time to fuel up, as I totally skipped breakfast and am starting to feel a little hungry. Morning tea is a great opportunity to talk to the other grads and some of the hospital staff who are present.
After morning tea, the Executive Director Nursing talks to us about the rostering and management of staff with competing interests and how families come first. She encourages us to talk to the staff as we take our tours.
The Chief Executive of CAHS (Child & Adolescent Health) then speaks to the group. He is refreshingly contemporary. Although he has no PowerPoints or seemingly anything prepared, he speaks with conviction and is extremely engaging. He makes us all laugh and wonder. He speaks of his personal journey, his parents’ expectations, where he is at now and where he sees things going. He explains the dynamics and problems he faces in his position, the silos that exist, and explains in very real terms that everyone can relate to. He puts forward the notion that he puts patients first, staff second and the organisation third. He comes across as a leader who truly believes what he is espousing and the power of this cannot be underestimated.
Once the presentations are completed we assemble in our groups and collect our tour guide.
First stop is Fun on Four…. We are greeted by ‘Bumblebee’, one of the Transformers, and the self-check-in terminal. This is an area where sick children and their families can come and play and relax. It houses a library, arts and crafts area, Radio Lollipop, music room, outdoor play area, gaming room and the Starlight Foundation. Self-check-in allows the staff to know the location of patients if they are not in their room. If only hospitals were like this when I was a child!
We then proceed to tour Ward 2A, Level One OPD and the Emergency Department. We pop our head around many corners, looking at new techy equipment, and marvel at how medical imaging has come a long way. Our Tour Guide speaks about the massive underground component to the hospital to service its needs for power and plumbing; how the carpark sends vibrations that interrupt sensitive equipment and how the engineers and architects had to factor that in. We look at infection control and discuss the increase in measles and the rise of anti-vaxxers, and the significant impact this is having on the hospital. They talk about outpatient and in-home care versus inpatient, and how the balance is shifting to preventative medicine and wellness and the impact of that to the business. It is an extremely interesting look behind the scenes.
We return to the Collegiate lounge, where we are farewelled, and our visit is concluded. Everyone says their goodbyes. All the grads walk down together to the bus stop to return to the Public Sector Commission. We depart from the North exit and I snap some pictures on my way out. An amazing morning in the day of the life of a grad in the public service in Western Australia.
After waiting for our bus, we finally all hop on board for the short road trip back to the PSC. Everyone looks tired and weary, so much walking today. I was pleasantly surprised my Fitbit buzzed at 10,000 steps goal met!
I and my colleague catch the train back to the office. We casually chat about the morning and what was interesting and how the morning went really fast. We talk about our projects and what we are doing and arrange to meet up for coffee and catch up to do grad photos and write an article for the in-house newsletter. I check my email and reply to a few, accept meeting requests and try to get on top of things before getting back to the office.
I jump in my car from the train station and drive to Staff parking. I am so lucky we have free staff parking not too far of a walk away. I buy myself lunch and a drink and head in to eat at my desk. I plan to proof-read my project report and review, whilst eating lunch.
I arrive at work, land at my desk and everyone in my department want to know what it is like at the children’s hospital. A huge conversation ensues around how surprisingly, their problems are similar to ours, and how technology is impacting the hospital industry.
My Jabber (an in-house instant messaging service) starts pinging me as other people in the business have more information and data I need for my project. I respond and find that I can now pop around to the data analyst, to discuss exactly what information I need to pull from various siloed systems to combine to build a cohesive report. It turns out to be a very productive meeting of what is available and what is not. I leave the data team armed with a lot of data from different systems.
I go over my project report on time and motion studies of some of the workflow and processes in the customer service department. I update and combine my working Excel spreadsheets with the new data and check my formulas. The results are more surprising than anticipated. I have identified several ways in which the business can save money and improve customer outcomes and turnaround times. I also have a few out of the box ideas to improve the way things are done. I know my line manager will be very happy as we now have evidence to justify and fund system improvements.
The people in my team who started early start leaving work, one of the bonuses of flexitime. I am on a roll with my thoughts and my report. Even though my 7.5 hours is up, I want to finish this section of the report whilst it is fresh in my mind. I decide to stay until 4.30pm. This is great as that means a can leave a little earlier on Friday to do an activity with my kids. I upload my Excel spreadsheets into Power BI and start producing visual aids to tell the story in the report in a more impactful and meaningful way.
I was so wrapped up in my work, I didn’t realise the time flew and it's now 4.37! I quickly pack up my desk, say goodbye to my colleagues, text my daughter and son to say I will be there in 10 minutes. One of my colleagues reminds me about the spot meeting in the morning and an impending media release from another government agency, which will impact Customer Service and my access to consult with staff. I have two times to choose from, early or late start times. I then rush out the door to my car
I pick up my daughter from Maths tutoring, she has graciously collected her younger brother from homework club, which has saved me some time. I’m so grateful for her thoughtfulness right now. We then head home.
I listen to two of the children talk about their day, what went well, what didn’t go so well, and any funny little stories they wish to share. On the way home I stop into the shops to pick up some last-minute missing grocery items needed for dinner.
I pull into the garage and I am glad to be home. My husband has started dinner and my other two children excitedly tell me about their day. One had a NAPLAN test and was excited, as she thought she did well in it. Their days sound full and fun. I help my husband finish cooking dinner whilst the kids unpack their school bags and lunch boxes.
Dinner is served and a huge conversation of what is happening tomorrow, with associated logistics planning, commences. A few funny stories and quick dry wit are exchanged, it’s great to wind down with a few laughs with my family.
It’s homework check time and I look at my youngest’s reading diary to find out what story he is reading me tonight. His new reader is a Roald Dahl book, which is far better than what I had as a child. I hug and kiss him goodnight and turn out his light.
I go through my mail from the school, accept excursions and complete the forms online, view the homework assignments and upcoming activities for each child. I check teacher messages, and everything is all good.
I check in on my teenagers, discuss any issues from the day and provide suggestions about dealing with other more difficult and challenging children. I go over some maths equations, physics and chemistry homework, and tell them to not stay up too late.
I get organised for bed and hop into it to watch some TV. I flick through the free to air channels and after deciding nothing great is on, turn to Netflix. This is my wind down and chill out time before sleeping.