All colleagues at Thames Hospice are actively encouraged to find out what it’s like to work in different teams to help them to gain a better understanding about the work of the Hospice and to support their role. James Goodwin recently joined the charity as Head of Performance and Compliance and work-shadowed some of our clinical team. He reflects on his shift as a Health Care Assistant on the Inpatient Unit.
As I walked into the clinical meeting room at 7am, I was a little nervous but overall very excited about the day ahead because I was going to be a Health Care Assistant on the Inpatient Unit (IPU). Dressed in pale blue scrubs and wearing completely the wrong footwear for a long day on my feet, it was agreed that I was going to shadow the wonderful Gaby and Sheila on the Heron wing, who are both Nursing Assistants. We started the day with Sister Dee talking through our patients currently staying with us.
I tagged along with Gaby and Sheila observing the superb patient care that they provide. I did what I could which involved helping with their daily care routine, rushing off to locate more towels and bed linen, getting to grips with the different waste bags that are in use, helping to make beds and hand out breakfast and lunch (helping to feed one of the patients that needed extra help). I also met some incredible families who were going through a very worrying time and did what I could to make them comfortable.
One patient was very agitated throughout the day and I felt they needed a little extra time and TLC. The patient was a cheeky soul with a lovely smile and kept grabbing my hand and wanting cuddles, which I willingly gave. I enjoyed sitting and chatting with them, and singing along to their favourite ABBA songs. It was also fascinating to watch our physiotherapists at work to help a patient to improve mobility and gain strength.
I definitely need more training on how to tuck the corners of the bed sheets correctly and throughout the day, I must have washed my hand over 30 times or more and put on numerous plastic aprons and gloves.
Gaby and Sheila were fantastic. They were so engaging with both patients and family, showing masses of love and compassion. The amazing Sister Dee, the Doctors and other colleagues on the IPU were also very supportive explaining what was going on whilst doing their job. THANK YOU. There was a lot of camaraderie and laughter too, which is so important due to the tough environment that people are working in.
The day was amazing and an extremely powerful experience. I wanted to spend a day on IPU to increase my appreciation of what goes on in IPU and to volunteer and help where I could for the day. I will certainly be doing it again but next time will wear more comfortable shoes.