“I think I will say it was a good day and the sick people got better”

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When I get home in the evening my son often asks, “what did you do at work today?” This is in between playing LEGO and reading books on dinosaurs…

What should I tell him? He knows and has an understanding that I work in the Hospital ‘making people better’.

Shall I tell him of the great team in Plym Theatres? Of the ODPs, the nurses, ASP, PCS, Healthcare Assistants, receptionists and Serco staff who all work together to make sure that our patients and visitors have the best possible experience during this stressful time? Or should I talk about the Anaesthetists, Surgeons, Opthalmic, Maxilio-Facial and Dental Nurses, Physios, Radiographers and play specialists who bring their individual skills into the department and integrate together into our unit?

I can tell him of being the person who greets nervous families and gets them ready for theatre. Checking all the details and getting more information, all to keep the child safe. Liaising with Surgeons and Anaesthetists so that we ensure our patients wishes and expectations are met. Applying ‘Magic Cream’ on nervous hands and reassuring all that it is going to be OK. Linking with wards to make sure beds are available and they are ready for continuing care.

I can speak of working with the Anaesthetist, checking the equipment and preparing the Anaesthetic Room for our first patients. Welcoming scared children and stressed parents and with a mix of distraction, humour and smiles putting them at their ease. Ensuring that the child drifts off to sleep in a smooth manner and their airway is secured to ensure their continued safety. Being aware of the child’s needs during the operation, whilst ensuring everything is ready for the next patient and with the Anaesthetist keeping that child safe on the transfer and handover to recovery. I could tell him about doing this in MRI, CT scan or for the sick child in the Emergency Department, Children’s High Dependency Unit and main theatres.

I could say about being one of the scrub team, preparing all the equipment and sets for routine, and some very not routine operations. Getting my hands wet and scrubbing for a very diverse range of procedures from eyes to Orthopaedics and ENT, to Urology and many others in between. Or of circulating and looking after the needs of the surgeon and scrub practitioner throughout the procedure.

I could describe working in Post-Operative Recovery, the initial handover from theatre, ensuring the patient has a secure airway and are out of pain and at no risk of bleeding. Of catching the wriggly toddler as they roll around on the trolley, comforting the child who has had their tonsils removed or reassuring the teenager that their procedure has gone well.

Or into second stage and reuniting children with their parents, making sure that their pain is controlled, their fears allayed. Providing food and drink to hungry kids and getting everything ready to discharge some home and some for on going care in other departments.

I think I will say it was a good day and the sick people got better, now let’s read that book.


Mark is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from ODPs, and their AHP and HCS colleagues, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.

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