Staying the course

Joyce Lee_Dover Park Hospice_3

Staying the course

Dover Park Hospice’s longest-serving staff member, Assistant Manager in Administration Joyce Lee, talks about her motivations in joining the sector and her experiences, offering advice to those thinking of doing so.

How long have you been working at Dover Park Hospice?
I joined Dover Park Hospice in June 1996. This year would be my 25th year with the Hospice.

Why did you choose to work in a hospice?
I was in retail service and wanted a change in my working environment. I came across a job advertisement for an administrative role at Dover Park Hospice and decided to apply for it.

I was interviewed by the Chief Operating Officer (COO) then, Ms Maria Mah, and the rest is history.

Can you briefly share your current role and tell us what you like about your work?
As an Assistant Manager, I lead and oversee the Clinical Administration team for the three services — Inpatient, Home Care and Day Care.
My team supports the Medical and Nursing teams in their day-to-day operations such as patient referrals, admissions and discharge.

We also help to maintain and archive patient medical records. My team also assists the Social Work and Psychosocial Services teams in financial counselling and application for means testing. Other administrative duties performed by my team include fronting internal and external audits, billing and government subvention, secretariat support to sub-committees and various heads of departments providing statistical information to internal and external stakeholders.

While we may not be on the frontline, my team plays a key role to ensure the smooth transition of the patients into our setting. There is a sense of contentment knowing that we have played a part in our patients’ final journey.

You have undertaken various roles and responsibilities at Dover Park Hospice though. Can you share with us about those experiences?
When I first joined, there were only four staff in the entire office taking care of the daily operations of the ward such as finance, HR
and fundraising headed by then COO, Ms Maria Mah.

I started off with basic administrative duties such as attending to phone enquiries, patient billing/subvention claims, and management of patient medical records and supplies for the Hospice. Over time, my job scope expanded and I was involved in helping to coordinate events such as the year-end party for staff, outings for patients, memorial services for caregivers, and festive events to name a few. I also assisted in ad-hoc projects and played an active role in all fundraising events.

I have also helped to cover HR duties such as payroll and recruitment of foreign healthcare workers and handled foreign nurses’ accommodation in hostels. I also covered in handling operational matters such as attending to complaints on building maintenance, oxygen supplies etc.
I was subsequently asked to take on more patient-facing work, standing in for volunteer matters and assisting the Medical Social Workers with interviews and means testing of patients for admission.

Today, I lead a team of administrative staff in providing support for the Hospice’s three main services.

Can you share with us some takeaways you have from working at Dover Park Hospice?
You need to have compassion to work in this line and while it is not always pleasant to deal with death and dying on a daily basis, it is the people you work with and the support for one another that make the work a lot easier.

I am very blessed and fortunate to have worked with many great bosses and wonderful colleagues over the years. Many of them have left but we still keep in touch till this day. Just before the pandemic, a group of us took a trip to Myanmar to meet up with ex-colleagues whom we have known for 20 years. We have come a long way from being strangers to becoming colleagues and friends.

What is your most unforgettable memory?
My husband was diagnosed with late-stage cancer in October 2000 and the support I received from my colleagues in the Hospice was tremendous. Everyone from the CEO to my peers were there for me every step of the way. In my husband’s final moments, the team led by Dr Vincent Thai and Director of Nursing Edward Poon personally provided home hospice care to ensure he was comfortable till the very end. This is something which I will never forget and am truly grateful for. Dover Park Hospice has become a second home to me and I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to serve the organisation for this long and for the wonderful people I have met along the way.

Do you have any word of advice for people who wish to join the palliative care sector?
Most people have misconceptions about hospices. They think it is a gloomy and depressing place. Death and dying is part of a normal life cycle. I have witnessed and shared many happy moments with patients and colleagues working at Dover Park Hospice. Being part of our patients’ last journey and making it a happy and fulfilling one is what makes this job rewarding.

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