Steven, Portering Supervisor, NHS Grampian

Steven started his NHS career as a domestic assistant working part-time while still at school. He then worked as a shift driver. For the very first Healthcare Estates and Facilities Day, Steven told us about his present job as a portering supervisor in a busy hospital.

Hi, I'm Steven and I'm a porter supervisor.

A typical day for the portering supervisor varies depending on which shift we're on. At the start of the shift, we would do handover with the controller that we are relieving, and he will identify any job slots that are available, or any people that phoned in sick, and extra duties that I would have to then cover.

We would then get phone calls from wards, support workers, labs with all these different jobs which I would then have to prioritise and put onto the portering task creation system. Then I would have a pool of porters that would then select the type of job through the task creation system and book it depending on the priority.

I would say the most important skills for a portering supervisor are cooperation, communication, and personal skills. Some of the phone calls we get are a little bit heated and people are worried about their patients. We've got to try and de-escalate the situation and get the correct information that we require to do our job correctly, whether that is taking blood, or getting patients transferred to different areas.

We have also got to cooperate well with these departments as well as our staff working the floor. We've got to be in constant communication with them to stop people going for the same jobs, or down to the same areas of the hospital. We've got to keep an even spread right throughout the department.

What makes me proud being a portering supervisor in the NHS is my staff, especially during the recent pandemic. My staff have all given nothing short of one hundred percent, right throughout the pandemic. All of them have gone above and beyond to pick up that extra workload, to pick up extra shifts, staying back to help other shifts out in a moment's notice. Just seeing the way they've all joined together to support each other has made me extremely proud.


What's a typical day like for you?

My day varies, depending on which shift I'm on. At the start of my shift, I do a handover with the controller that I'm relieving. They'll make me aware of any high priority jobs, update me on staff sickness, and identify extra duties that I have to cover.

I would then get phone calls from wards, support workers, and the labs with different jobs which I must prioritise and put onto the portering task creation system. I would have a pool of porters on shift who select these jobs through the task creation system and book it depending on the priority.

The best part of my day is lunchtime, as I get to catch up with my team in the bothy. It gives me the chance chat to them all and make sure they're all physically and mentally able to do the job. I also enjoy the bravado they all have.

What are the most important skills for a portering supervisor?

I would say the most important skills for a portering supervisor are cooperation, communication, organisation, and people skills.

There are about 120 porters in the department all working different shifts. I work with the others supervisors to create rotas maximising our workforce the most efficient way possible.

Some of the phone calls we get are a little bit heated as people are worried about their patients. We've got to try and de-escalate the situation and get the correct information that we need to do our job correctly. It could be collecting and delivering blood samples, or getting patients transferred to different areas of the hospital.

I have got to cooperate well with every department and with my staff working the floor. I've got to be in constant communication with them to stop people going for the same jobs, or down to the same areas of the hospital. We've got to keep an even spread right throughout the department.

These are all things the supervisor team have to navigate to run a smooth and successful operation for the best possible patient care.

What makes you proud to be a portering supervisor?

What makes me proud being a portering supervisor in the NHS is my staff, especially during the recent pandemic.

My staff have all given nothing short of one hundred percent, right throughout the pandemic. All of them have gone above and beyond to pick up that extra workload, to pick up extra shifts, staying back to help other shifts out in a moment's notice. Just seeing the way they've all joined together to support each other has made me extremely proud.

Portering supervisor

Find out more about becoming a portering supervisor.

NHSScotland vacancies

Find your perfect career in NHSScotland.