“I don’t have a hobby. This is my hobby!” said Paula Hamabata, Employee of the Month for July, when asked what she does during her free time. On some weekends, she can be seen in her office negotiating contracts for medical supplies and other hospital needs.
“I have to make sure everything gets done and supplies are purchased on time or else the physicians and patients would have nothing to use,” Paula said.
“She is just an amazing employee. Her loyalty and dedication to her job is outstanding. She always does what she is supposed to do with no whining, no complaining,” said Lori Gunther, Assistant Patient Care Coordinator in the Surgery department, who works closely with Paula for inventory and supply needs.
Paula’s role as a buyer in the Purchasing department (for Surgical Services) is critical to the Surgery department, Lori said. “The Operating Room is all about inventory. If we don’t have supply, we might not be able to do surgery.”
Paula is a good communicator, transparent and does her job with a smile, her nominator said. “(She is) always responsive with answers to questions and trying to come up with ways to improve things. (She) always brings up concerns… looking out for the best interest of Kuakini.”
Paula also maintains supply inventory levels for Anesthesia, the Sterile Processing Department (SPD), and the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU).
Paula’s recognition as Employee of the Month came as a surprise to her; she was also surprised to see the large group that attended her award recognition ceremony.
“I thought it was going to be a small crowd. I’m a little overwhelmed,” she said. “I have no idea (how I got this award) because everyone works hard, we all work together as a unit. Our department is very cohesive.”
Paula joined Kuakini in 1976 as a ward clerk in the Nursing department. In 1981, she moved to the Purchasing department first as an Assistant Senior Stores Clerk, then as a Medical Supply Specialist, later on becoming a Supply Room Supervisor and a Buyer. In her current position as a Surgical Services Buyer, which she has held since 2004, she said there are constant challenges and “never a dull moment.”
“Kuakini has given me the opportunity to grow and expand… The people that work here – they are exceptional. They know their job well and they are willing to support me.”
If she is not working at Kuakini, Paula’s other free time is spent shopping and reading.