Viktoria Kallai, Assistant Production Manager, Area Sterilisation & Disinfection Unit (ASDU)

What attracted you to apply for a job in instrument sterilisation?

I had been working in the private sector in sterile services management as a technician during my time at university and I came across several studies on various areas of the NHS such as sterile services, patient flow improvement, administration, theatre time studies etc.

They were all really interesting and I was impressed by the size and range of work carried out in the NHS. I thought that it would be great to work in a place where I would be doing a public service and, at the same time, have almost no boundaries to my imagination in terms of career development.

So, when the opportunity came up to apply to work with NHS Forth Valley, I applied.

Many people aren’t aware of ASDU – how big a workload do you get through?

We provide all relevant clinical areas across NHS Forth Valley with a comprehensive decontamination and sterilisation service for reusable medical instruments and devices.

ASDU has a team of 27 trainee technicians, technicians and supervisors who reprocess 1.2m reusable medical devices per year. The Endoscopy Department has 7 technicians and a supervisor who reprocess around 14,500 flexible endoscopes per year.

What is your career background?

I started as a part time Sterile Services Technician working in the private sector to support myself whilst I was studying Engineering Management at university. Working in sterile services turned out to be very interesting and I have put a lot of effort into my personal development. Eventually my job and my studies converged and I wrote my thesis about lean improvements in sterile services.

When I finished university, a technical trainer position came up with my previous employer. I got the job and was in charge of training and quality management for about 30 technicians and supervisors. At this point I knew that if an opportunity came along I would want to work for the NHS, so I applied for a supervisory position with the ASDU at Falkirk Community Hospital in 2018. This was a perfect entry level position to establish myself within NHS Scotland.

I have been encouraged by my managers to attend various courses to further improve my knowledge and skills and when the Assistant Production Manager post came up in December 2021, I applied immediately, and I have been in my current post since February 2022.

Tell us something people may not know about you?

I am a bit of a sci-fi geek and get very excited every time a new sci-fi movie or series premiers.

I have also studied communication and cultural management when I first went to university in Hungary and almost became a journalist. The only thing I needed to do to complete my degree was to write a thesis, but I was already working in the UK and decided that the grass is greener here and never went ahead with my thesis.

What’s your worst habit?

Worst habits are worst for a reason. No one should know about them.

Favourite food for breakfast?

Pancakes with fried egg, bacon and maple syrup. This is a treat I have for breakfast on my birthdays.

Best holiday ever?

I went to Fort William a couple of years ago and had a week-long walking holiday exploring the Scottish Highlands. It was amazing and it didn’t matter that we went to the hills, did low level walks or just visited a beach, all of it was breath taking.

I enjoy being outdoors very much, hill walking and Munro bagging have become my favourite pastimes in the last couple of years. While at Fort William, I also managed to climb Ben Nevis which I am unreasonably proud of.

Favourite book or TV programme and why?

My favourite book is A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. I read it as a teenager first and it had a huge impact on me with its storytelling and how you can create a complex story with just a few words.

My favourite TV programme is Battlestar Galactica. I love sci-fi and this series has one of the best storylines ever – dissecting questions about humanity that are very relevant even today, although the series ran 20 years ago.

Which celebrity would you most like to meet?

Susie Dent from 8 Out of 10 Cats. She has a dry humour and is very smart. I think we could have an interesting chat and I loved my linguistic lessons during university so maybe I could learn a thing or two from her.

Spender or saver?

Spender. Life is too short to sit on money.

What makes you laugh?

I have a dry and sarcastic sense of humour and usually it is hard to make me laugh, but once I get going there’s no stopping me and I have a proper laughing fit.

My flatmate recently installed TikTok on my phone because it was hilarious according to her and I have to agree. If I want quick giggles I can just go on TikTok.

How would you spend one million pounds?

I would buy a house and go on a big holiday. I would invest the rest into space mining.

Biggest regret in life?

I don’t dwell on regrets; I can’t change things that have already happened.