Sophie, Call Handler, NHS 24

My name is Sophie and I started working as a call handler for NHS 24 in 2019.

Before working for NHS 24, I had felt adrift for a few years. I had lost my mum very suddenly which I struggled with terribly. I felt I had lost an anchor in my life. My mental health suffered, I felt very alone, and I turned to some very unhealthy coping mechanisms. Over time, I ended up in a dark place and for the next 6 years, I was unemployed.

At a certain point, I realised I was on the wrong path and decided I had to make some changes. I knew that my time out of work may make it difficult to get employment so I began looking for ways that I could improve my CV. In 2018 I saw an online course advertised which was run by the Prince's Trust - 'Get Into Healthcare' - and thought I would give it a go.

The Prince's Trust was great! They provided me with support and helped with my interview and CV. The boost that they gave to help me start believing in myself was invaluable.

After I completed the Get Into Healthcare programme, I was shortlisted for an interview for a call handler position at NHS 24. Working for the NHS wasn't something I ever saw happening for me. However, after starting the job I realised I had a passion for the role. The team I was working with were amazing, and I found I had an interest in a long-term career. Two years on I'm still here and enjoying it every day!

Over the last few years, I've been lucky enough to have won an NHS 24 Spotlight Award, while also being nominated for a Prince's Trust Award and Scottish Health Award. If you had asked me a few years ago if I'd see myself in an NHS role, I would never have agreed. This job has given me passion and pride in myself, something I felt I was lacking for some time. Being recognised and rewarded for something I had originally assumed I wouldn't be good at is an incredible achievement.

As a result of my job in the NHS, I've felt empowered to take on other volunteering roles. Over the last few years, I've assisted at the Girl Guides, Dementia Club, and Glasgow Life. I've also provided support at sporting events like the Scottish Swimming Championships and Euro 2020.

If you currently feel your zest for life is lacking, rest assured I have been there, getting out there and finding a role you love will make all the difference. It did for me!