Starting a new job just before the start of a pandemic is hardly ideal at the best of times, let alone when the new job involves working in the medical field.
However, newly-appointed house manager at Ronald McDonald House Orange Bronwyn Cooper is thriving in her new role as the house is enters its fifth year of service to the community.
Ms Cooper jumped straight into the hot seat, with shutdowns beginning just after she began, but Ms Cooper said it hadn't had a massive effect on the day-to-day running of the house.
"Coming from a medical not for profit background all of that hygiene stuff was always extra important but it was basically normal from the day-to-day," she said.
"Everyone knows about it, people get screened when they go to the hospital and they get screened when they come here but aside from that there's not much difference."
Mr Cooper had spent 10 years at the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service, finishing as the assistant to the CEO before she jumped across.
She said one of the first orders of business was to sit down with volunteers and hear from them.
"I was able to catch up with them, one-on-one or in a group to have coffee and biscuits and learn about the relationships they'd built here and what it was like," Ms Cooper said.
With this week being national volunteer week, she thanked all of them for their efforts across the first five years of the house's life.
"I just simply couldn't do my job without them, and the house could not provide the support it does without their help," she said.
Since Ronald McDonald House opened in 2015 it has provided more than 5,700 nights of free accommodation to 720 families.
"And our volunteers have clocked up an amazing 60,300 hours at the house during that time - I find that amazing," she said.
Her new role primarily involves the co-ordination of the more than 100 volunteers on the roster at RMH Orange, as well as liaising with the hospital to ensure families with ill children can be provided free accommodation.
"I just feel it is such a privilege being able to work in a job where every day you know you have made a difference to people's lives," Ms Cooper said.
A home-away-from-home for ill children and their families, RMH Orange is used for accommodation by residents of Dubbo and the surrounding areas when their children need medical care at Orange Health Service.
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