Welcome to our newest blog series, “Five Questions With…”  In this series, we will highlight the unsung heroes that make healthcare work. From guest services to the phlebotomist, the pet therapy volunteer, and the environmental services workers.  These individuals enhance our experiences when we are getting care and highlight human connection and support. Thank you for all you do!

Today, we feature Jim Hoffman. Jim has been the Manager of Materials Management at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (PCAM) for nearly 35 years.

Tell us more about what you do to support patients.

Patients don’t often see us. We typically don’t have face-to-face interactions with the patients, but our job is to ensure critical items are where they need to be. We support the departments that are hands-on with patients. We make sure that the staff that takes care of patients have what they need to do their jobs. We keep up with supplies, equipment, and logistics.

What is the most challenging part of your job? 

Supply is a major issue we have constant backorders. It has been very challenging getting the supplies we need in a timely manner. PPE is the hardest. Then when they do come in, they come in by the millions. Then we must get them all put away and distributed.

There are times you go to reach for something and it’s not there. If we don’t have something we need we can reach out to other areas within the health system. The material management team is great, and we all work well together, and help each other.

What is the thing you love the most about your job? 

This…the communication piece! I like to drop in and chat and see how things are going in each department. I like to chat about non-work-related things as well like the Phillies are starting, today’s the season opener. Things like that. It’s important to develop small work relationships. That way when I receive a phone call, I know who is on the other end of the line. I can help calm a situation if there is an urgent matter if I have a good relationship with the managers in the departments. It certainly is not my good looks that helped me develop a good relationship with the managers in Perelman. We have developed that, and I say WE because I have awesome people I work with. Great support.

If someone was applying for a similar position, what would you tell them about the work? 

It is challenging, you need to have open ears and an open mind. You need to walk around and communicate. It’s extremely important. You can’t be a ghost; you need to be visible. How you manage your inventory and how you communicate with managers and MAs is very important. MAs are the individuals that stock the rooms. Speak with them. Develop their confidence. Don’t BS people and be a straight shooter. That way people know you are going to be honest.

Do you want to nominate a staff member, volunteer, co-worker, or friend for us to feature in “Five Questions With…” Go to oncolink.org/feedback and let us know!