Nancy Scholefield will be celebrating 14 years with the Faculty of Dentistry in March. She joined McGill after a long career as a flight attendant. Welcoming patients was natural for her after all of her customer service experience. Every day she goes above and beyond her duties as Receptionist to offer a caring environment for patients making them feel at ease. When she is not manning the front desk of the Undergraduate Teaching Clinic she loves to cook gourmet meals, have a glass of wine and travel to warm destinations.
Tell us a little about yourself. I have been working for the Faculty of Dentistry coming up on 14 years in March. I come from a background dealing with the public as a flight attendant and a bartender, so the position at the reception seemed like a good fit, with regular hours for once! I love to cook gourmet meals on weekends, love my wine and enjoy traveling to warm places with a beach. Every summer my other half and I rent a little cottage near Goose Rocks Beach in Maine and indulge in fresh seafood & lobster rolls every day, then try to walk it off on the beach. What is your role in the Faculty of Dentistry? The official name of my position is Receptionist/Accounting Clerk. It sounds easy but being on the front line, greeting people, explaining the way the clinic works, making sure they get in and out safely, and making the patient’s experience a friendly one in a caring environment is not always easy! The sheer volume of the applicants, by phone, mail and fax is so very hard to keep up with. We really are on the front line of the clinic, and help to set the rhythm and the tone. Before working at McGill, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? Prior to arriving at McGill, I was a flight attendant with an international charter airline, Wardair. Our flights were seasonal: summer was Paris, London , Amsterdam and Frankfurt, winter was Acapulco, Barbados, many other Caribbean destinations and Hawaii, my favourite. Most of the winter flights were turn-arounds (except for Hawaii!), so that meant a lot of return flights on the same day. Sometimes I would leave on a flight and it would turn into a 10 day “trip”, in and out of hotels and between multiple destinations. We called this a round robin. I would get back home, stay for 24 hours and then go back to work and do it all over again. Despite the glamour of the European and Caribbean destinations it is really not easy to fly that much! When the airline closed its base in Montreal, I became a bartender in the downtown Bishop Street and Mackay Street area. It was a great time! Being in one place for long enough to get a boyfriend, a cat and a plant all at once!! What do you find the most challenging about your position? The hardest part of my position here in the clinic is the volume of patients arriving at the same time. It is pretty unique to our clinic as in most offices appointments are staggered throughout the day. We get bombarded in the morning and in the afternoon! Some patients know the names of their students, others are newbies, some are simply in the wrong place – all of this makes it challenging to keep the line moving and direct people to where they are supposed to be in such a short time. Some people get very upset, so trying to deal with their complaints and questions while taking payments from others can get intense and stressful. I try to please everyone, but sometimes that is just not possible. What has been your favourite project with the Faculty? This has to be the big move to the new facility. Very difficult, still going through some “growing pains” but ultimately will be so much better in every way. Just looking at the patient’s faces when they come into the new facility, they are usually astounded and ask me all the time how I am enjoying it! I am enjoying it!