Passionate About Planes – Meet Dana The High Flying Patient Care Coordinator

When the unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in the spring of 2010 the vast majority of us living in the densely populated South of the UK enjoyed the unexpected side effect of peaceful skies. After accepting the inconvenience of disrupted flight plans, it was a pleasant bonus to actually listen to the birds singing as we went about our daily lives.

However, one London Vision Clinic patient care coordinator was not too happy with the situation. Dana is – by her own admission – crazy about everything to do with aviation … and that includes the roar of airplane engines.

“Put me on a busy flight path and I love it – all I want to do is to lie on my back and watch the planes go overhead”, said Dana whose passion goes back as far as she can remember.

Her hobby covers everything to do with flying and planes from the early war-time fighters (“although I like Spitfires and Hurricanes, they are not exactly my cup of tea”), through to modern military planes and commercial jets; devouring magazines and any information she can find on each subject. Not surprisingly “Top Gun” is her favourite film which, if possible, she likes to re-watch every Sunday morning. With her Vulcan bomber supporter T shirt and back-pack she is a regular visitor to air shows.

“I guess you could say that I am a Vulcan groupie having followed that plane around the country, joining its fan club and contributing to the appeal to see it airborne again.”

Sadly, this plane – arguably the world’s greatest aircraft and undoubtedly a piece of British history – does not have the best flying record in its old age. Due to several break downs, many of its recent public appearances have not got off the ground and merely involved moving along the tarmac.

“Some people might get emotional listening to a piece of music; for me its planes that give me goose bumps … I even get excited just thinking or talking about them!”

Dana, who is originally from Northumberland and grew up in Yorkshire, is never happier than when she is actually at the controls herself. She has clocked up some ten hours flying time on her favourite Cessna planes however her current London lifestyle leaves little opportunity – or cash – to pursue a pilot’s licence.

“It’s an expensive hobby; but if I won the lottery I would definitely buy a Cessna. It would be wonderful to fly across the channel for shopping or to pop up north to see my family”, she told me.

Dana’s flying experiences make her especially appreciative of the importance of good eyesight – a quality that she brings to her daily work helping London Vision Clinic patients through their Laser Eye Surgery journey.

“First and foremost you need to be a ‘people person’ in my job”, said Dana who, as a patient care coordinator listens to patient’s concerns and answers their questions about what to expect from their Laser Eye Surgery. She also confides that sometimes she needs to be a psychologist to do her job successfully.

“People have a different way of showing that they are nervous before surgery … a woman might talk openly about her fears while men tend to show their anxiety in other ways … sometimes they might be uncharacteristically irritable or standoffish.”

However, according to Dana, after surgery, almost everyone comments that the experience was not nearly as bad as they had feared – often adding that they wish they had done it years ago.

“I totally get it – although I have never had problems with my own eyesight, I cannot imagine having to wear glasses or contact lenses to see properly”, said Dana whose mother decided to get rid of her reading glasses and have her presbyopia corrected at the London Vision Clinic. As it is inappropriate to work with a relative, Dana’s mother was assigned her daughter’s colleague Katy as her patient care coordinator for the procedure.

“I really like knowing that, with Laser Eye Surgery, the results are instant. We get to see the outcome straight away. I can really understand the joy of being able to see well without glasses or contact lenses”, said Dana whose extensive training for the job even included learning about the various preoperative eye tests. “It is important to understand how every aspect of the patient journey works”, she said.