SESLHD’s door screeners: From hospitality to hospitals

Sydneysiders from all walks of life have been stood down from jobs or faced redundancy due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and some have joined our ranks screening entrants to our hospitals and facilities.

At St George Hospital, screening staff come from a wide scope of work sectors including hospitality, airlines and zoos. As part of the warm welcome which these new staff have enjoyed, below we share some of their stories.

Aileen Leddy (pictured far left), a zoo keeper, worked regular shifts at Taronga Zoo before the pandemic shut the zoo forcing casual staff to be stood down. Despite occasional shift availability, Aileen was largely unemployed for six months until landing a position at St George Hospital.

“It was quite lovely wandering around the zoo when it was quiet, it felt a bit special, like it was just me and the animals,” Ms Leddy said.

“St George Hospital is a nice place to work and I’m really glad for the opportunity to be here. The only challenging aspect for me is being in one spot as I’m so used to moving around so much.”

Chrissy Suter (not pictured) also isn’t used to staying in one place, working as a First Class Flight Attendant for Qantas for the past 32 years.

When the flights were grounded on 30 March 2020 Chrissy, along with many other airline staff, was stood down indefinitely. She volunteered at the Museum of Contemporary Art as a gallery host to assist with their reopening in June, while studying.

“I did a hospitality course for two months to get formal qualifications for what I’ve been doing for the past 30 years,” Ms Suter said with a laugh.

While she misses travelling around the world, Chrissy is happy in her new role at the hospital and grateful for the work opportunity.

Bronwyn Leix (second from left) was working in Human Resources when COVID-19 changed her career path. She was out of work for four and a half months after losing her position, and applied for 240 jobs in that time.

Securing a job at St George Hospital, Bronwyn is enjoying learning about the healthcare system and how different areas of the hospital work together.

“I love learning and now that I’m working in health, I might consider studying for a Certificate IV in health management as I’d love to use my HR skills in the health sector - I feel like this job could be a spring board to a new direction in my career,” Ms Leix said.

Helping people has proved to be incredibly satisfying for her.

“The screening staff all have amazing and different skill sets as it is a really diverse group of people. We have been able to help staff, patients and visitors with the new entry process, which has improved the efficiency of the process, and it was great to be a part of this,” Ms Leix said.

George Cocokios (pictured standing) is no stranger to working with people. He worked as a Customer Services Manager for Canterbury Leagues Club until 1 July 2020 and said he has had an easy transition to working at the hospital.

“We are here to help people,” Mr Cocokios said.

Very grateful for the position, Mr Cocokios said working with the team and a very supportive manager has made the job great.

“I’ve learnt a lot being here and our manager Elena McQuillen has supported us through the whole process. There’s so much going on in the hospital so it is always interesting. I particularly love the good news stories, such as seeing a pregnant woman coming into the hospital and then leaving a few days later with a baby in her arms, it is lovely.”

Members of the screening staff team at St George Hospital