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Staff Q&A

  Staff amrywiol - Various roles

Below are a number of questions and answers from staff working in many different roles within children's nursing:

AdobeStock 259945801

AdobeStock 259945801

Paediatric Palliative Care Play Specialist

I’m Rachel and I work as a paediatric palliative care play specialist at Hywel Dda Health Board.

Why did you decide on this role?

I have a love for being an advocate for children’s rights. I love engaging children in their health awareness through play as I have a passion for play in health care.

Work experience tips/ advice when applying/ interview tips?

My top tip is to find a job you love!

Physician Associate

Hi, I am Alisha and I work as a physician associate.

What is your background?

After leaving school, I studied biomedical science at university followed by a physician associate master’s degree.

Why did you decide on this role?

I wanted to follow a career path that involved caring for patients. The physician associate role allows me to combine my interest in science with my passion to care for others. I also wanted to work within a multidisciplinary team (MDT).

It is also a relatively new role in the UK which made me feel excited to be an advocate for the job.

What key skills are needed to do your role well?

  • Person/patient-centred approach
  • Communications skills
  • Ability to work well within a team
  • Scientific knowledge/interest

What is the value of the Welsh language in your role?

I am fluent in the Welsh language and find this very useful in my role as I can allow my patients to converse in their most comfortable language.

Work experience tips/advice when applying/interview tips?

Gain experience in a healthcare setting.

Be yourself in interviews – they want to know your personality and want you to succeed!

Play Assistant

Hello, my name is Sally and I am a Play Assistant in a large hospital in Carmarthen.

What is your background?

I was a Healthcare Support Worker and now I am developing my skills and knowledge as a Play Worker.

Why did you decide on the role/course?

I love working with children and families and the role of the Play Worker is both fun and rewarding.

What was your route into the role?

I started my career in NHS Wales as a healthcare Support Worker and when I was in college I progressed into the role of Health Play Worker.

What made you decide on the role?

I knew that this was my perfect role as I love to see children grow and thrive through play.

What qualifications did you need?

I needed an NVQ Level 3 to do this role.

What key skills are needed to do your role well?

  • Patient
  • Caring and compassionate
  • Good at listening and communicating
  • Good at problem-solving
  • Happy and fun

Is using the Welsh language a positive within your role?

Yes, the Welsh language is very important in my role as many children and their families prefer to communicate through the medium of Welsh.

Any tips for someone thinking about doing your role in the future?

Be yourself and be confident!

Junior sister - Paediatrics

Hi there, my name is Debbie and I’m a Junior Sister in the Children’s Ward.

Where do you work and who do you work with?

I work within the Children’s Assessment Unit with a small team of nurses of different levels and with a team of specialist doctors.

What does a typical working day look like for you?

My day starts with checking the unit to make sure that all the stock is topped up. I make sure that all the children’s beds are clean and the area around their beds is tidy for the day.

Between 8 am and 11 am, we have children booked into half-hourly slots for blood samples. This is supported by our Play Team. They play a very important part in this procedure as they provide a distraction for the children this procedure can be very frightening doe children who have never had their blood taken before.

The remainder of the day is spent assessing and treating children who have been referred to our service by the local GPs, A&E departments, Midwives or from our sister hospitals within the Trust.

Would you recommend the role?

Yes, I would absolutely recommend my role!

My role is very fulfilling, rewarding, exciting and fun!

Staff Nurse- Paediatric Ward

Hello, my name is Erin and I’m a Staff Nurse in the Paediatric Ward in The Hywel Dda Health Board.

I provide one-to-one care for critically ill children.

In my role as a Paediatric Staff Nurse, I provide one to one care for care for sick, injured or disabled children and young people. I also provide comfort and reassurance to patients and their parents or carers in difficult or stressful circumstances.

Why would you recommend the role?

I would recommend my role because my role is very interesting and no two days are the same.

The role also offers a lot of opportunities to learn new skills and to develop my knowledge. It has great opportunities to progress my career.

Ward Clerk

Hello. My name is Georgia, and I am a ward clerk.

What is your background?

After completing my A Levels in school, I went to university where I completed a BA early childhood studies degree followed by a postgraduate certificate in early years education and care.

Why did you decide on the role?

  • A healthy work-life balance
  • A good salary
  • Friendly team environment
  • Fast-paced and enjoyable tasks daily

What was your route into the role?

I saw the job advertised and did some research into the role and its requirements and decided to apply. A discussion with the staff about the details of the role furthered my interest.

What key skills do you need to do your role well?

  • Communication
  • Organisation
  • Ability to take initiative
  • Timekeeping
  • Personable/approachable

Paediatric High Dependency Junior Sister

My name is Jenna, and I am a Paediatric High Dependency Junior Sister.

What is your background?

I completed my A levels and then went to study for a Nursing degree at University. Once I had qualified I have since worked as a Staff Nurse, Junior Sister and a Practice Development Nurse.

Why did you decide on the role/course?

I have always enjoyed working with children.

When I was in the sixth form I volunteered in a school for children with disabilities.

This encouraged me to look into nursing as a career.

What qualifications did you need?

I need 3 A levels to go onto the Nursing degree programme.

What key skills are needed to do your role well?

To be an effective nurse you need to have good communication skills.

As you are working closely with anxious and frightened children and families it is important to be approachable and friendly as you are asked many questions throughout the day.

Being able to speak Welsh whatever your level, even being able to say, `thank you` and `good morning` is useful however it is not essential if you want to be a nurse.

Any tips about work experience?

Try and find a volunteering opportunity in your local hospital or in a health and care setting.

Where do you work at the moment?

I work in a large hospital in Carmarthen. I work with children aged 0-18 years.

What does a typical working day look like?

When I start my shift in the morning, there is a handover from the night shift staff. The handover meeting will share information such as, how many are on the ward, and how many have come onto the ward during the night shift. We will also discuss what medication is due and the dressing changes required. We will also need to be aware of any concerns that the doctor may have or any problems or complications that may have developed during the night.

At the start of the shift, I will give each nurse on the shift their own set of patients to look after following the handover.

As a Junior Sister, I coordinate the shift, navigating any new patients coming onto the ward throughout the day.

My role is very varied, and each day is different. We don’t know how many patients we may see and what health conditions they may have.

Would you recommend the role?

Yes, I would certainly recommend my role. It is an extremely hands-on job, and every day is exciting.

Every family we meet are very grateful for the care they receive.

It is an extremely rewarding job.

Band 4 Student Nurse

My name is Laura and I’m a Band 4 student nurse

What is your background?

I started off as a healthcare support worker in the children’s ward

I started my band 3 training and I quickly moved on to do the band 4 training which I really enjoyed. I am currently doing my Nursing degree.

Why did you decide on the role?

I decided that this was the best route for me into nursing as it is very practical and hands-on and you get to learn so much by being on the ward you learn new things every day from experienced staff who work with you and support you on the ward.

This route from healthcare support worker to nurse is the perfect route for me and is a great way of becoming a nurse at NHS Wales.

What qualifications did you need?

I needed to have qualifications in English and Maths.

What key skills are needed to do your role well?

You need a wide range of skills for the job as it is really varied and interesting and requires a lot of different skills.

However, I would say the ones that are most important are:

  • Good communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management

How valuable is the Welsh language within your role?

Using the Welsh language in my role is really valuable.

Many patients prefer to speak Welsh and feel more comfortable explaining things in their first or language of choice. I speak Welsh so this is a great advantage for me and the children and familiar that I look after.

Tips for when you apply for the role?

Prepare thoroughly for the role, and find out as much as you can about the hospital, team and department that you are applying to.

Smile, be friendly and confident.

Go for it, I’m so glad that I did!

HCSW (Healthcare Support Worker)

My name is Laura, and I am a Healthcare Support Worker in the Children’s Ward

Where do you work?

I work in PACU.

PACU is the post-anaesthesia care unit. Here we provide will provide care for post-operative patients recovering from anaesthesia, including general, regional, and local.

My role is very hands-on and very varied.

One minute I am talking and comforting anxious children or worried parents and the next washing and dressing the children before an operation.

What does a typical working day look like?

My day starts with daily checks – checking stock and equipment. I have to make sure that the wards are clean and organised for the day ahead.

I then take patients for observations as well as escort patients to other departments in the hospital. I also have to obtain samples and assess the patients when ask to by the other staff on the ward and in the clinics.

Children’s care lead (community nurse)

Hi, I’m Lisa and I work as a Children’s care lead (community nurse).

What is your background?

I left school at the age of 18 following the completion of my A Levels. After saving up some money and travelling, I commenced my nursing training at the age of 19.

Why did you decide on the role?

Since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to be a nurse that works with children, especially young people with complex health needs. I am passionate about children’s rights and being their voice.

What was your route into the role?

After qualifying, I worked in the acute setting for 12 years before fortunately getting a role in the community.

What key skills are needed to do your role well?

  • Patience
  • Trustworthy
  • Professionalism
  • Compassionate
  • Leadership
  • Being able to work well within a team
  • Managing complex/difficult conversations

What is the value of the Welsh language in your role?

I am not a fluent Welsh speaker, but I can read it well and converse with some colleagues.

Work experience tips/ advice when applying/ interview tips?

Do not let anyone discourage you from following your dream career. Be honest and your passion will shine through. Volunteering or work experience within a Health Board may help too!

Family Counsellor - Palliative Children and Young People

Hello, I’m Penny and I am a specialist family counsellor - palliative children and young people.

Why did you decide on this role?

I have worked with some occupational therapists, and I wanted to help and support patients in a more personal way.

My placement within bereavement services gave me valuable experience. I have worked with families in the NHS for 30 years – this role felt like the next step for me.

Work experience tips/ advice when applying/ interview tips?

  • Be yourself – honest and authentic.
  • Placements/work experience will help you.
  • Always ask questions.
  • Look after your own well-being.

Healthcare Support Worker- Children’s Ward

My name’s Natalie and I am a Healthcare Support Worker and I work on a Children’s Ward in a busy hospital. I work with a lovely team and really enjoy my role.

What does a typical working day look like?

I come to work and the first thing I do is sort out the breakfast for the children and their parents.

I then see to the observations that need to be made to make sure to check to see how the children are after their night’s sleep. I love playing with the children and I will look after them if their parents need a break.

I also do housekeeping tasks around the ward such as cleaning and tidying as well as stocking up anything that we may be running low on in the ward.

I also feed the children and help the doctors and nurses by taking the children for their X-rays or to the theatre when it is time for their operation.

I often take blood samples and cannulas out when required.

Would you recommend the role?

Yes, I would definitely recommend my role.

My job is very rewarding. It can be challenging at times but that’s what’s good about this role.

No two days are the same and you get to help children and to meet lots of different people.

To do this role you need to be kind, caring and passionate about helping children and their families to get through difficult and anxious times but it is a wonderful job, and very rewarding.

You don’t need specific qualifications to do this role and there are many ways to progress in your career.

I left school with only a few qualifications.

Since working here I have done my Level 3 NVQ qualification and have achieved my diploma Access into Nursing qualification. Hopefully, in October I will continue to progress in my career and become a fully qualified nurse!

Staff Nurse - Paediatrics

My name is Lucy and I am a Staff Nurse in Paediatrics.

Where do you work and who do you work with?

I work in a general children’s ward where we care for children up to the age of 16.

We work with many other health professionals such as ENT. Orthopaedics and Surgical staff members for example.

What does a typical working day look like? 

The day starts with a meeting with the patients of the children that you are looking after during your shift. You introduce yourself to them to build up an understanding of the child and the family so you can provide the best care possible for the child.

I then plan my shift around their needs and what I need to do to organise my day.

Would you recommend the role?

Yes, I would recommend my role, it is quite demanding at times and can be very challenging however it is a very worthwhile and rewarding job.

Advanced Clinical Practitioner

Hi, my name’s Jenna and I’m an Advanced Clinical Practitioner, I work within PACU, which is the POST-ANESTHESIA CARE UNIT. I work with a lot of different staff members as part of the Multi-Disciplinary Team.

What does a typical working day look like?

The first thing that I do when I start my shift is have a handover with the medical team allocated to the area most needed. This could be the children’s ward or PACU.

My job is very interesting and very varied and consists of seeing, treating, and investigating health conditions and certain situations as they arise regarding care and treatment.

I take the child’s history, plan the care and discharge them home or to another ward as required. I also play an important part in interpreting investigations and in prescribing medication.

Would you recommend the role?

I would certainly recommend my role. Every day is different and interesting in my role.

I work in an autonomous role but within a team. I love working with children and young people, it’s one of the best jobs in the world.

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