There’s no disputing that the IWK Health Centre has many close-knit colleagues. From departments that are more like families to co-workers that are more like siblings. It’s this kind of trusted bond that Patricia Evans and Debi Follett of the Psychiatry Department embody completely.
“You know those friends you meet in life and you think ‘this is just so easy, I feel like I’ve known you forever’,” Debi starts. “That’s the way it is with us,” the pair says in unison.
Patricia (also known as Patsy) started just a few months after Debi in 2014. Debi, administrative assistant to Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Chief of Psychiatry, met Patsy, administrative assistant for Specific Care Clinic in the Psychiatry Department, as many colleagues do, through the hallways and going to lunch.
The pair became immediate friends when they discovered their shared sense of humor and the instant understanding of one another. If you’ve seen the 1988 film ‘Twins’, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, you might be able to picture the relationship between Patsy and Debi. They refer to themselves as ‘Arnie’ and ‘Danny’ and are true ‘twinsies’ in life.
“We’re two of a kind,” says Patsy. “We laugh at each other’s jokes and have the same personality. We also have the same work ethic, which is huge.”
“It was just so easy to become friends because we don’t take ourselves too seriously. She’s like my sister,” Debi says.
What started with office chatting quickly spilled over into a friendship that knows no bounds. When they aren’t at work, the two chat on the phone for hours, make plans for weekend trips, run errands together, and have even waited at the emergency department for one another.
That’s exactly what happened last year, on Halloween day, when Debi had a medical issue happen while at work. When the ambulance came to take her to the QEII, it was immediately known that she wasn’t going anywhere without Patsy by her side.
“There was no way I was staying,” says Patsy. “But it’s exactly what she would do for me, if the roles were reversed, there’s nobody else would want to be there with me more than Debi.”
Even now, the pair joke that when one wants a vacation then they need to go together because a day in the office just isn’t the same without the other.
“It makes work easier and it makes it fun. Especially when tensions are high during busy times,” Debi explains. “Just to be able to laugh with somebody and to know that at some point in your day, you’re going to have a friend’s support, that you can tell them what’s going on and they get it.”
“It’s somebody that understands the work that we do and who knows when you’re having a bad day,” adds Patsy.
“I don’t see Patsy as a friend of mine at work. She’s my friend, and we happen to work together,” continues Debi.
With all the colleagues to meet through work, the two understand how lucky they are to have found each other. They believe that if they hadn’t meet at the IWK then it would have been somewhere at sometime, because they were made to be friends.
“We have lots of friends, within the Health Centre and outside. You can have many friends,” Patsy explains. “But there’s few in life that I would do anything for,” Debi picks up, “and Patsy’s one of them.”
“I hope that people see the value of putting in the effort to extend themselves,” Debi expresses. “We work with such amazing people and if you open yourself up to it then you can build the most amazing friendships.”
“We realize how lucky we are,” says Patsy. “We hope there are many others in the hospital that have a friendship like we have. It makes life so much easier and so much more fun.”
June 8, 2019 is National Best Friend’s Day. Make sure to spend some time with your work bestie and celebrate the friendships created in the IWK.