Staff Spotlight: Dionne (Dee) Caruana

Last week we sat down with Dee to learn more about her career with Samaritans.

Tell us a bit about your career at Samaritans and the different roles you have had?

I have been working with Samaritans for almost 11 years. I started off as a Residential Support Worker in a group home located in Thornton. At this service I had the opportunity to fill in as the Senior Support Worker. Following this I became the senior worker at the Gateshead Service. Over the years I have been the Senior Worker for a number of difference Samaritans services including Macquarie Hills house, Adamstown Crisis Accommodation, Clinical Support Unit, Newcastle Individuals and the Elermore Vale service. I also assisted the Supported Employee Service (cleaning) to get ready for accreditation. Most recently I have worked at On Call, as well as the Intake and Referral Officer in Maitland.

How have you found out about different roles in the organisation and what made you want to try new things and experience different aspects of Samaritans?

In the past, I would just make sure that I vocalised my interest in a challenge and my manager would let me know if an opportunity came up. More recently SEEK has been a good spot to see what is available in Samaritans. I’m always open to learning new things, and I enjoy working with different teams and the people we support.

What do you do in your current role?

The Intake and Referral Officer supports participants who have NDIS funding and are interested in using Samaritans as a support provider. I assist with enquiries and do the intake procedures if participants want to proceed. I ensure that people are also referred on to appropriate services if Samaritans can’t assist. When I refer a participant on to a service I try to ensure the service has the information they need to give the quality support. Intake also plays a key role in collating organisational data.

What drew you to work for Samaritans and why do you enjoy it here?

I liked that Samaritans was so diverse and had so many areas of support. I enjoy working with Samaritans because I get to work with the amazing people we support. I’m so lucky that I have been a part of their journey. I get to advocate for their needs and support them to get a better quality of life every day!

What is your favourite memory from your time working with Samaritans?

Picking one single moment is really hard. But I do love those moments when I have been working with a client for some time who has some barriers up, and we finally have that breakthrough moment when they let those barriers down and get a whole new perspective on life.