Hindsight is a beautiful thing: Reflections of a Service Coordinator
By Anna Mather, Service Coordinator, VOICES
I was recently asked “if I could go back and give myself advice when becoming a service coordinator what would I say to myself?” It’s a very good question, what would I say?
Well firstly I would remind myself ‘you are service coordinator and not support worker.’
What’s the difference I hear you ask? Well as a coordinator your role is to coordinate services to provide support for our customers, as opposed to providing support directly, even though as a human being it’s built in me to do my best to support any anyone I work with. However, by doing this, I learnt the hard way that if you ‘support work,’ it is incredibly hard. You have one set of hands, you have the timescale of one role – if you don’t stick to it the customers suffer, and so do you.
Secondly, (I want you to work with me on this one) it is ok to say ‘no’. It doesn’t matter if you say no to a customer or another service, in some cases it may even be your own colleague’s, but it is OK. Obviously, I don’t mean saying no just for the sake of it, but if it’s going to impact your role negatively or your ability to coordinate rather than support work then its important to remember you can say no or even question as to what purpose it would serve.
This leads me to my next piece of advice as its closely connected – time management and professional boundaries. If you struggle to say no or question when someone asks something of you that you know you’re going to struggle to accommodate, it can massively impact your professionalism and ability to manage time. I’m sure most of you can relate – I bet that you have found yourself in a moment when you look in your diary and your supposed to be in two places at once at which point panic sets in. Example; You have an MDT (which has been set for a few weeks) along with another appointment to follow. Then you get contacted to say a customer has been evicted from their accommodation and you’re expected to assist. Being able to manage your diary along with other priorities that crop up, helps manage this.
Lastly, look after yourself and look after each other. If you can’t be well in your role then it will impact upon you, not just in work but in general. You are a priority too. What we witness on daily a basis in the sector can be tough, mentally, physically and emotionally. This doesn’t come unnoticed. You are a person; the customers are people and as human being we all have basic needs that if not met can negatively impact us. Don’t just….
“Don’t just learn, experience.
Don’t just read, absorb.
Don’t just change, transform.
Don’t just relate, advocate.
Don’t just promise, prove.
Don’t just criticize, encourage.
Don’t just think, ponder.
Don’t just take, give.
Don’t just see, feel.
Don’t just dream, do.
Don’t just hear, listen.
Don’t just talk, act.
Don’t just tell, show.
Don’t just exist, live.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart