FROM investigating strange smells to tracking down medical equipment, work is never dull for receptionist Lauren Pattison-de Bellasis.

The 24-year-old has pretty much seen it all since joining Solent NHS Estates and Facilities in December 2020.

Based at Bitterne Health Centre in Southampton, Lauren has encountered lost patients, electrical issues, missing furniture, blocked toilets and everything in between.

On top of the admin – which includes a busy email inbox and a steady stream of phone enquiries – there are the patients themselves, some of whom she has got to know well.

Whatever the patients are like, Lauren knows they are potentially feeling worried about their visit, so she goes out of her way to always give a friendly greeting.

“What I love most about my job is knowing I can make someone’s day a little bit brighter with the flash of a smile and a warm welcome,” she said.

“Times are tough, and many patients attending medical appointments may be feeling concerned or anxious.

“If I can take away some of those bad feelings and replace them with good, then I know I have done my job.”

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Lauren is one of 27 receptionists working across six Solent NHS Trust sites in the Southampton and Portsmouth area. Usually, she is at Bitterne and shares the front desk with a colleague.

She said: “Sometimes I work alone but being on the front desk you are never really alone - and that is truly wonderful.”

Lauren, who lived in Spain until Covid struck, said she loved that every day was different and filled with new challenges for her to “problem solve”.

One minute she can be helping a patient find their treatment room and the next minute checking the temperature of the immunisation fridges or delivering post.

“No day is ever the same,” said Lauren.

“I thought I would be answering the phone, responding to emails and greeting people – but there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that people just don’t realise.”

Lauren, who fronted a Little Mix tribute act in Benidorm before Covid struck, knew she wanted to work in the NHS but was open minded about which role.

She returned to her childhood home of Southampton and, after a disastrous week working for a parcel delivery firm, landed her post at Bitterne.

“I absolutely love my job,” she said.

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