“I have always been a people person and love chatting and helping, so being a receptionist is the perfect role for me. My school reports said: ‘Lynn talks too much’, and when one of my old teachers visited the hospital they smiled and said: ‘perfect role for you, this!’”

A Voluntary Service/Reception Manager for ELHT Lynn's smiling face and cheery manner has been welcoming patients and visitors since 2000. 

She said:

It was never my plan to work for the NHS. I worked in the travel industry but after having my daughter I needed to look at what was best for myself and my young family so a change in career it was, and an evening Receptionist job became available at Queen’s Park Hospital Main Reception.

Back then, patients were transported from Blackburn Royal Infirmary to Queen’s Park Hospital via ambulance transport. Staff were also ferried up and down between hospital sites in minibuses driven by Trevor and Joe, our wonderfully cheerful drivers.

Lynn HackettReception wasn’t as busy as it is today. You had time to chat and listen to people who were visiting their poorly relatives and just needed to offload before they left. 

One of my favourite things was when the Maternity Support Workers with the new parents brought babies down to see us before they went home. As we chatted to the new mums I’d like to think we had a little input into their name! I became really good friends with one of the support workers and became godmother to one of her daughters. 

I remember one time a gentleman brought his heavily pregnant wife in and I quickly grabbed a wheelchair. I helped them to the lift towards Maternity but the little one wasn’t for waiting and out he came in the lift - caught by me! He was a beautiful baby boy, and as the lift doors opened, I was helped by Renee Alan, the Sister on the D Wards with Midwives running down the corridor from the delivery suite!

Another time, a taxi driver came running in saying that his passenger had got in the car but couldn’t get out and could I help? I ran out to the car and the lady inside was showing signs of a stroke so, without hesitation, I jumped in next to her and held her hand while directing the driver to the Emergency Department. A few days later the relatives came to Reception to thank me. They said without my quick thinking she wouldn’t have made it.
It’s always a pleasure seeing patients discharged and going home well and full recovered – that’s a sight I’ll never stop loving. 

In 2006 we moved to the state-of-the-art reception at the newly established Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital. With the new Reception came volunteers and many of them are still with us today and are a valuable part of the Trust.

Christmas time is always a time to reflect and add a little cheer. I used to love working on Christmas Eve; there is something special about it. I used to arrive at work dressed as Mrs Santa and always ensured there was plenty of chocolate on Reception to hand out and wish every visitor some festive cheer. It raised many smiles and comments and it’s something I am still remembered for today - although it’s been a few years since I’ve worn the outfit! 

One of the things I love the most about working on Reception is the fact that we are the first point of contact for anyone arriving at the hospital. Telling a chemo patient, you see repeatedly, how amazing they look wearing their colourful head scarfs, jumping up from behind reception to hand someone a tissue when they are telling you something and the emotions become too much or giving them a well-needed hug is all part and parcel of the job. I hope we bring them some comfort and not forgetting the tears of joy when those colourful headscarf’s come off and new hair arrives. 

Over the years I have met so many wonderful people it’s been an absolute joy. 

Working for the NHS may never have been on my ‘to do’ list but it’s been one the most rewarding careers I could have wished for. We are all part of a huge machine and being the first point of contact for anyone coming to our Trust is a privilege.