Quitting smoking is a journey you don’t have to take alone, there are professionals to help along the way.

Published: May 31, 2018

There are many ways to make a difference in people’s lives. This could be a doctor making a life-saving decision or a family helping foster a child in need. It could also be someone on the phone offering advice and support. Medibank Quitline Counsellors Connie Tang and Ravina Katyal do exactly that – play a part in making a positive impact in the lives of those who reach out to them.

Connie is a Bilingual Counsellor for Quitline and spends her working days assisting both English and Mandarin speaking callers in their journeys to quitting smoking. She says that to her, the most rewarding part of her role isn’t so much the moment when a smoker finally succeeds in quitting, but giving them the tools and the information they need for their journey.

“I love being able to debunk myths about quitting smoking that most people hold. When I dispel these myths, people generally tell me they feel relieved and confident to quit. Advising people of the correct information and seeing the positive impact this has on them is something I love about being a Quitline Counsellor.”

Connie (centre) at the Women’s Cancer Awareness & Resource Information Day held by CanRevive for the Chinese community.

Quitline Counsellor Ravina, who assists clients in English, Hindi and Punjabi, says that despite the challenges with some clients who have strong resistance to quitting smoking, it is these moments that she finds the most rewarding.

“It’s a great feeling to be able to help people understand, in a language that they can, that we all have our journeys. Sometimes what they need more of is the guidance to feel empowered to take control of their own lives.”

World No Tobacco Day is an awareness day observed internationally. Its goal is to encourage self-restraint against the consumption of any form of tobacco. Medibank Quitline Counsellors receive phone calls daily from individuals who wish to quit as well as family and friends who want to help.

“People reach out to Quitline when they have tried to quit smoking several times on their own and have not been successful,” Connie says.

“We also get phone calls from those who have questions about Nicotine Replacement Therapy and other strategies to help them quit. Sometimes, people just want that extra support so they don’t feel that they are alone.”

As Quitline Counsellors, Connie and Ravina have opportunities every single day to make an impact on people’s lives. Whether this means just listening, providing information or being there from the beginning or towards the end of the journey, every phone call is important. For Ravina, this is something that she is reminded of when callers give her feedback on how she has helped them.

“A client rang back to say that since quitting, he was able to do the parents’ sports run with his son for the first time without becoming breathless. He was elated to see the joy on his son’s face and said that seeing his smile was worth all the effort.”

Connie agrees, remembering a conversation she had with one of her callers who had reached out to Quitline for guidance.

“They called me back several months later to say that they had successfully quit. They were so grateful for Quitline’s support and spoke about the importance of knowing how Nicotine Replacement Therapy worked. They said that by reaching out to us, they felt that it was OK to feel helpless and anxious about the idea of quitting.”

Medibank Quitline Counsellors are here to listen, support and give advice to those who wish to start their journey. The business continues to make an impact in the healthcare space through the different health services it offers. This is something Ravina can vouch for having been a Medibank employee for 9 years.

“Medibank continues to promote healthy life choices as well as running campaigns to encourage a strong focus on health and wellbeing. As an employee, Medibank allows me to use all the skills that I have while supporting me to think outside the box.”

Ravina (second from right) at a team dinner, where the theme was ‘Bollywood celebrities.’

“Being a part of Medibank means I have flexibility with where, when and how I work. I truly believe that this helps employees attain a good work-life balance. There’s also plenty of room to grow, develop and progress internally,” echoes Connie.

“Medibank does practice what it preaches, such as always looking into clinical quality improvement, innovation and taking care of its employees. I feel very supported.”

Asked why she is in the role that she’s in as a Quitline Counsellor, Ravina only has one simple answer.

“I do what I do because it gives me the ability to make a positive change in someone’s life.”

If you’re looking to quit smoking or simply seeking advice, contact Quitline on 13 78 48 for free and confidential conversation.


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