60 seconds with Kataryna Leach

29 March 2016

Kataryna Leach, department secretary and PAKataryna Leach is the department secretary and PA to Mr Kaveh Shakib, consultant oral and maxillofacial surgeon and lead in orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery at Barnet Hospital.

What does an oral and maxillofacial secretary do?

I am very lucky to have a varied role which allows me to work very closely with our patients, our consultants and nurses and with a wide range of services across London. Every day brings exciting new challenges; no two days are the same.

What’s the best thing about your job?

This is a difficult question because there are so many things, but my top two are being privileged to work with such an outstanding specialist and close team and being able to make a real difference to our patients when they need us most. Nothing beats the satisfaction of a patient saying that they have received excellent care with your department which has supported them throughout.

How long have you worked at the trust?

I originally started working for the trust on the bank while still at university at the start of 2008. I was made permanent in 2009. In total I have been with the trust for about seven years now.

What are the most significant challenges of your role?

It can be emotionally very challenging, but also very rewarding, responding to the needs of our cancer patients and their relatives. There have been many occasions when the telephone conversations I have had with patients have really touched me. It is a great privilege to be able to help them, even in the smallest way.

What would be your perfect day away from work?

A trip to Brighton with a stop off at my favourite macaroon shop, Julien Pulmart’s - they are bliss!

If you weren’t in your current role, what would you be doing?

Originally I was training to be an academic. If I was not here I would probably be still working toward this. Truthfully it didn’t take long from joining the service to realise that I had found my vocation. I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to work anywhere else.

What can’t you live without?

Tea and Marmite.

Tell us something about you that very few people know…

I am a co-director of a small artist book publishing company and in 2013 published my own artists’ book called: Muse Love Letters to Research. You can order it at the British Library, ISBN 9780992616601.