Come inside our operating theatre of the past, present and future

IMG_8396.JPGPlym Children’s Theatres will once again be opening its doors as part of the Trust’s NHS70 Open day on Saturday 16 June (10.00-14.00). This is a great opportunity for children and adults to come and find out more about what happens inside an operating theatre.

Once again, we will be running our Teddy Bear Hospital – so if you know of a teddy or toy who is in need of some medical attention, please bring them along to be checked over, bandaged, or even stitched back up by the experts. The teddy bear’s owners are welcome to help and there are reward stickers for the owners and patients.

Come inside our operating theatre of the past, present and future – showcasing the changes that there have been in caring for people having surgery over the 70 years that the NHS has been in existence. Visitors will be able to see how the equipment we use to keep patients safe during anaesthesia has improved. Find out more about the different job roles in an operating theatre team and how we work together to look after patients, you could even have a go at “scrubbing-up”.

Plymouth Kidzzz – the charity that supports Plymouth Children’s Theatres, will be offering the opportunity to get involved with some pebble art and there will be lots of other activities for children and adults.

Come along for a day of interactive fun and education for all the family. For more information and to book on to events or talks, please download our app: http://bit.ly/NHS70PlymouthApp

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Sarah Wimlett
Consultant Anaesthetist

#NHS70 Open Day on Saturday 16 June 2018

Wooden doctor desk background with copy space at bottomThis year the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday. We thought a great way to celebrate it would be to hold an Open Day with the theme of #NHS70 – the NHS past, present and future.

Some of our many services will be showing what healthcare was like in the past, how it is now and what it might look like in the future.

We will have on show equipment used in healthcare in decades past, for example old equipment used to test your hearing and old lenses and artificial eyes. We’ll also be exploring how roles, such as those of nurses and therapists have changed since the NHS first started. Being a Major Trauma Centre, we’ll be able to explain how things like survival rates have changed (and improved!) for patients and why.

From the chance to step into a modern day operating theatre to viewing our unique historic library collections, from discovering more about blood  and the history of microscopy to cracking bones, from finding out how research has changed over the years to trying your hand at delivering a mock baby … we’re inviting people to come along and find out more.

Download our programme for full details

But the #NHS70 Open Day won’t be all looking back. By very popular demand, we’ll once again have a Careers Fair so those interested in being our future staff and volunteers can find out more about the opportunities available. You can book in advance to attend talks by some of our specialist staff groups using our app.

We have also teamed up with our two local universities – the University of Plymouth will be joining us on the day with interactive stands around podiatry and dietetics. They will also be bringing their training ambulance along to the event so visitors can explore how Paramedic Practitioners are trained.

Plymouth Marjon University, just across the road from Derriford Hospital will be opening up their sports centre and health areas to demonstrate activities such as rehabilitation.

Being a military hospital benefiting from the Defence Medical Group South West, our military colleagues will be with us on the day with Casualty Sim to interact with and a display of RNH Stonehouse amongst other things.

For those interested, we’ll once again be running our popular behind the scenes tours too.

Over the next few weeks we will bring you more information about some of the many activities which will be on show on the #NHS70 Open Day using this blog. So please keep visiting and we hope to see you on the day. There will be free car parking for the Open Day in Car Parks C and D – site map here.

Come along for a day of interactive fun and education for all the family. For more information and to book on to events or talks, please download our app: http://bit.ly/NHS70PlymouthApp

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Hope to see you there

Amanda

Head of Communications

“I enjoy spending time with every one of my patients, seeing how their motivation and confidence grows with each contact”

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So around seven months ago, I decided to change my job role.

I went ahead and I applied for this ‘Occupational Therapist Assistant’ role and, in total shock, I got the job. I won’t lie, I was truly and utterly in the dark about exactly what my job role was but excited and enthusiastic to get started.

However questions crossed my mind ‘could I change someone’s life?’, and ‘would I improve someone’s life’? This was me; the newbie, the little young assistant who was slightly clueless.

After my first day I answered my very own questions “YES!” I could change and improve lives, I proved myself wrong and I actually knew what I was doing. I felt very comfortable and happy; this was the job I had waited for!

Now after seven months in the role, I can explain what I do every day. I work within the general medicine team, and we cover wards, with patients with various chronic conditions, and every patient we meet faces different challenges.

As an Occupational Therapist Assistant my role is to empower patients to participate in full daily activities, working under close supervision and collaboration with the senior OT, and also alongside other health professionals.

I enjoy spending time with every one of my patients, seeing how their motivation and confidence grows with each contact.

Each assessments enables me to highlight equipment needs, what support they might need at home, mobility improvements and offer guidance to family members that feel their loved one is at a loss and struggling at home.

As much as I love being an assistant, I decided to enrol on an access course to start my exciting journey to becoming a qualified OT. So now this previously clueless assistant is now going into the big world with the skills and motivation to always improve someone’s life.

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

“Orthoptics is a relatively small profession; there are approximately only 1,450 Orthoptists currently in practice”

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Why did I train to be an Orthoptist? From an early age my sights were set on being an Optometrist. Whilst studying for my A-Levels I took a Saturday job, working for a large chain of Opticians. This work provided me with invaluable experience of working with the general public but it also gave me insight into the world of ‘high street’ Optometry. I decided that maybe Optometry wasn’t for me, so whilst still being very interested in eye health care, I looked to see if there were any alternatives; that’s when I came across Orthoptics!

 

Orthoptics is a relatively small profession; there are approximately only 1,450 Orthoptists currently in practice. The Orthoptic degree is offered at only three universities in the country, The University of Liverpool, the University of Sheffield and Glasgow Caledonian University.

 

Working as an Orthoptist is always interesting; no two patients are ever the same. Each patient is unique, both in their eye condition and also their individual needs and requirements. We deal with a lot of paediatric patients in Orthoptics, so we also see some highly amusing characters in clinic!

 

Orthoptists are often the first clinician’s paediatric patients and adults with diplopia (double vision) see when they attend an appointment at the Royal Eye Infirmary. Orthoptists investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movements; such as misalignment of the eyes (strabismus or squint), double vision (diplopia) and reduced vision (amblyopia).

 

Some eye conditions we diagnose may be indicators of other health problems, such as multiple sclerosis or tumour. Orthoptists therefore play an important role in helping to spot these serious conditions.

 

I enjoy running my own clinics and also that I work closely with other eye specialists such as Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Nurses and HCA’s at the Royal Eye Infirmary.

 

Training students

We are a clinical placement site for all three universities, taking students on placement for around 23 weeks of the year. One of the aspects about my job I really enjoy is supervising Orthoptic students. It’s great to work with enthusiastic students who are keen to learn and enjoy seeing patients in clinic. Often the students may be assessing patient eye conditions first hand for the first time, which they have previously only read about; this can be a very enlightening experience to share with the student. Working as a clinical tutor can be time consuming and requires effort, but the pay back seeing students developing into reflective practitioners is extremely rewarding!

 

Where do I see the profession going?

The revised National Clinical Guideline for Stroke (RCP, 5th edition, 2016) lists Orthoptists as key members of the single multi-disciplinary team on stroke rehabilitation units. We are working with the stroke MDT’s at Derriford and Mount Gould to provide high quality Orthoptic care for patients who have had a stroke.

 

Orthoptists are increasingly working in extended roles within Ophthalmology in areas such as glaucoma and macular. Skills for working in extended role are being taught on the orthoptic degree and we currently have an Orthoptist about to start work in the field of macular.

 

We are one of only three centres of excellence for nystagmus. Whilst this extended role work is very exciting, it is perhaps a blog for another day!

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

Orthoptics was a profession I had never heard of when growing up

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Orthoptics was a profession I had never heard of when growing up

“It wasn’t until I looked into being an Optometrist at A-level that I came across Orthoptics”, says Dom Burdon.

So what attracted me to it?

Well I knew I wanted to work in some form of clinic setting which is why I was initially interested in Optometry, but once I learned more about Orthoptics I realised that it was much more up my street. This is because as Orthoptist’ we assess eyes and vision in a variety of patient’s, from babies to the elderly and from disabled people to severely unwell patients. This is not only at big hospitals such as Derriford but also peripheral sites such as Kingsbridge community hospital and primary schools too.

We treat and review patients for a long period of time. For example, I help provide treatment for reduced vision in the form of patching programmes in children, and treatment for double vision in the form of temporary prisms, which in my eyes makes it a very rewarding profession.

I know it’s a cliché, but the thing that really attracted to me to Orthoptics was the fact that no single day would be the same. This is due to the huge number of different cases that could walk through the door. In addition, as Orthoptists we really have to investigate patients using a variety of tests, so we can diagnose and see what treatment is most suited. For me, this keeps things very interesting.

I look forward to being able to specialise in many different clinics regarding vision here at the Royal Eye Infirmary and I feel privileged to be taught by my colleagues who have such a vast field of knowledge.

So, after not knowing what Orthoptics was at A-level five years ago, I can now understand and appreciate first-hand what impact we have on people’s lives of all ages, whilst most people still don’t quite understand or recognise Orthoptics as a profession.

Another view from an Orthoptist…

“Orthoptists are Allied Health Professionals and are crucial members of the NHS eye care team”, says Sue Hemelik.

We work closely with Opthalmologists to investigate, diagnose and treat defects of binocular vision and abnormalities of eye movement in patients of all ages from infants to the elderly, and we work in community clinics in Devon and Cornwall.

We also visit all foundation classes in Plymouth and South Hams area and carryout visual screening tests on all foundation children. As the visual pathways are developing up to the age of 8 years, it is very important we screen all four to five year-olds.

Although I qualified a long time ago, I still look forward to coming to work. I am extremely proud to be an Orthoptist.

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

“Nothing beats the sight of a beaming child on the day their brace is removed and their beautiful smile is revealed”

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Having qualified as Dental Nurse in 2005, I moved from working in a general dental practice to the Dental Specialities department at Derriford Hospital in 2007.

The dental department at Derriford Hospital is made up of three departments, Maxillofacial Surgery, Restorative Dentistry and Orthodontics. I joined the Dental Nursing team in the Orthodontic department, and absolutely fell in love with this branch of dentistry.

Orthodontics is the diagnosis, prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth and jaws. The majority of work is using braces to straighten teeth. In the Trust we tend to see the patients who have more severe or complicated problems such as severe crowding, congenitally missing teeth, impacted teeth and those with cleft lip and/or palate. Our patients are mainly children, although we do treat some adults who are normally seen for a combination of orthodontics and jaw surgery.

I found working in the orthodontic department fascinating and knew I wanted to specialise in this area. Around this time, the first ever Orthodontic Therapists started to qualify from various Dental Hospitals around the country – this was a new role designed to support the work of Orthodontists.

An Orthodontic Therapist carries out many of the tasks that an Orthodontist does; taking dental records prior to and after treatment, fitting, adjusting and removing dental braces, seeing patients in an emergency with broken or damaged braces and supporting the patient with advice during their treatment. However an Orthodontic Therapist doesn’t carry out any treatment planning and must only work under the prescription of an Orthodontic Specialist or Consultant Orthodontist.

I knew that this was the qualification I wanted to achieve and set out gaining post-qualification certificates in Orthodontic Dental Nursing and the Oral Hygiene Educator certificate to be best prepared to apply for this post should one arise.

Fortunately, in 2014, the department decided to create a post for its first ever Orthodontic Therapist and after a rigorous selection day I was thrilled to gain the position of Trainee Orthodontic Therapist and started my new role in January 2015.

After a four week residential course at Bristol Dental Hospital, I spent the rest of the year working with patients at Derriford under the supervision of the two Orthodontic Consultants, and attending study days at Bristol. The course was very intensive and developing the new skills and manual dexterity required to place and adjust braces was taxing – the consultants had always made it look so easy!

The biggest part of developing my role for me though, was making the change from Dental Nurse to clinician. I had loved my time as a nurse; being on the other side of the chair was quite daunting. However, coming from a dental nursing background really makes me appreciate what a massively important part of the team the Dental Nurses are – there is no way I could do my job without the highly skilled individuals that help me. In December 2015 I obtained my Diploma in Orthodontic Therapy RCSEd and started working at Derriford Hospital as a fully qualified Orthodontic Therapist.

I find working as an Orthodontic Therapist so satisfying and really enjoy my job. I see my patients every six to eight weeks over a period of about two-years and during that time I find that I can really build a great relationship with the patient and their family.

Orthodontics is often the first time many children will experience anyone working in their mouth and on their teeth. I like to think that I can offer a gentle introduction to dentistry, as well as offering oral hygiene and diet advice that will help that child develop good habits to keep their teeth healthy throughout their life.

Seeing a child grow in confidence as their teeth straighten is so rewarding and nothing beats the sight of a beaming child (or adult!) on the day that their brace is removed and their beautiful smile is revealed.

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Amanda is writing as part of the #WeCare2 campaign that will be running across our Trust communications. Look out for more from the AHPs and HCSs, on our social media pages, Trust screensavers, Daily Email, Vital Signs and much more.

“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.

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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.