I usually spend this time quickly reading my emails to determine what kind of day I will have and see if anything has come through which I must prioritise. I will also start to prepare for possible clinic days such as Clozapine or carry out any urgent bloods.
On a typical day:
What I do day to day varies, I run clinics, patient groups (smoking cessation, sexual health), recovery college and physical health tasks such as phlebotomy, ECGs, wound care and post-op care.
I have recently spent time on designing and updating leaflets to make them far more visually accessible. This is a plus as it increases physical health promotion within the service. Another way I have encouraged health promotion is by creating screensavers amongst the wards, which advertises services available for patients and health awareness days. My day is also taken up by admin and audits.
The best thing about my role is…
How much variation there is, every day is different. I love the thinking on my feet and problem-solving element of my job.
I tend to grab a coffee and start to prepare for my afternoon, This might be a physical health group which is part of the ‘CHOICES’ Recovery college. These sessions are co-designed and facilitated by experts by experience.
I’ve been in my current role…
I’ve been working for BEH-MHT for around 19 years, 15 years as a therapies worker in Occupational Therapy and in my current role for the last 4 years.
My proudest achievements are…
Overcoming my own battle with depression, alcohol dependency and achieving 4 years sobriety whilst re-establishing my career. I am so thankful for the support I received directly from my manager and from the senior management within the service.
What changes have you helped work on to improve the service for patients, staff, students?
I like to have an open door policy, which includes an opportunity for students to observe my work and being available to support staff.
Due to the ongoing work around health promotion, service users are now much more comfortable with open conversations regarding their physical health and requesting to talk about their potential needs (including sexual health checks). Open dialog has made a huge difference!
This is often a working lunch, a tend to ‘grab and go’ from the canteen or I get invites from the wards to join the staff and service users to eat with them.
I’m often heard saying…
‘Can you please write that in the ward diary’!
What inspires me is…
The service users are often very inspirational, such a varied group with varied backgrounds. I also find the open and honesty of staff re their own difficulties inspirational.
The hardest part of my job is…
Getting up in the morning, I’m definitely a night owl!
The best part of my job is…
When service users achieve their goals!
What qualifications or experience do you need to do your role?
This role requires specific training such as phlebotomy, level 3 smoking cessation, sexual health as well as in-depth knowledge of Clozapine treatment and management.
As well as the specific training the role requires the person to be passionate about the promotion of physical health this also aids my current learning which is an Open University course of health promotion in public health.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned in your role on the job?
Learning to be a phlebotomist I think has been fantastic. Alongside the theory, practice really aids your technique. This has also enabled me to work with service users that may need to have more time spent having a sample taken as they might be needle phobic for example.
What does bite-sized learning mean to you?
Snippets of information, you can access learning with ease.
What tips do you have for anyone wanting to join your profession?
You need to be personable, self-directive, autonomous and organised!
How are you compassionate to yourself or colleagues?
It has taken me a long time to learn to be compassionate towards myself as I felt for a long time that I didn’t have what it took on so many levels. However, since getting better and back to work I can now say that this is possible. I have always been compassionate to others, colleagues, peers, service users. I believe it’s one of the reasons I’m in this job.
Before I leave work…..
I make sure all my paperwork/notes are complete. I review the next day in the diary and inform the wards of any important information, such as a service user may be having a fasting blood sample, or we might need urine specimen from first thing in the morning to be sent to pathology.
I am usually off to rehearsals for ongoing theatre productions of which I direct or act in, and of course I also look after my girls….
If you could travel back in time what work tip would you give to your younger self?
This is a tough one; I think I would have to tell myself not to be so hot-headed or not to take things said so personally or to heart as it’s not about you, especially within my workplace.