Willette is the lead scheduling secretary for interventional radiology (IR) at the Baum Professional Building. But her time working in radiology for UPMC goes back 31 years.
After starting at the front desks of UPMC Montefiore and UPMC Presbyterian, Willette moved to scheduling, where she worked her way up to the scheduling lead. She and her team largely schedule for chemotherapy, port placements, and ultrasound-guided biopsies for UPMC Presbyterian, Montefiore, Shadyside, McKeesport, and East. They also schedule other procedures within IR.
But her job goes beyond scheduling appointments — she also provides a willing ear to patients.
“I helped a woman reschedule her CT scan recently,” Willette says. “She really wanted to talk to me about her day – she didn’t want to catch the bus to her appointment, she had a really bad headache, and life was just hard right then. I listened as she talked, and at the end she said, ‘You know, you should really be a therapist because you were really kind and talked me through everything’.
“Sometimes you just have to listen. I’m glad I could help.”
Willette says although her specific scheduling group is small, they all work together to make a good patient experience.
“IR can be pretty involved,” she says. “You might have to make a call while you’re on a call to help coordinate or ask your colleagues questions. It's a team effort.”
She often encounters patients who are upset and unsure.
“I had a woman the other day who was crying and unsure of what the tests she needed involved,” Willette says. “I helped her to feel calm and explained that I could ask the department to go over what would happen during the test, and she decided to go ahead and schedule it. That helped her feel less nervous. We encounter a lot of people in this position who are very anxious, and I feel like I have a sort of calming effect on them.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means listening and helping.