Stella Petrova, healthcare assistant, cardiothoracic theatres

Can you describe what you do day-to-day? Stella Petrova

I have the pleasure to be present and help during the thoracic (chest) and cardiac (heart) operations at Harefield Hospital. This involves helping the nurses before and during operations, including setting up the surgical equipment and instruments.

My colleagues and I also take care and keep stock of the supplies that operating theatres need, like sutures (stitches) and cover drapes that go over patients, which we couldn’t work without.

What do you like most about your job?

Every case is different and interesting. I like the challenge, the adrenaline, and the satisfaction from the results, especially when I get to see the patients get better.

Which part of your job is most challenging?

The emergency procedures and crash calls (when a patient suffers a cardiac arrest) in ITU. These happen outside our normal routine and can be very stressful.

What is the best/funniest thing a patient has ever said to you?

It wasn’t said directly to me, but after suffering a cardiac arrest and a crash call on the hospital ward, a patient called his wife and told her his phone was on charge and that was why he couldn’t answer – so as not to worry her. It made me cry.

Why did you decide to work in healthcare?

I have always wanted to, ever since I was a child. I can’t even remember why.