Support worker Judith Cochrane earned a special CSP award last year for extending her comfort zone in her work with people with haemophilia in the Belfast area.
What did the award mean to you?
I was delighted to be awarded the 21st Anniversary CSP Associate award in December. I am very thankful to my colleagues for nominating me and the other assistants who ‘taught’ me the job over the past 16 years. Recognition of my work has also highlighted the overall great work the haemophilia team does and the support they have given me.
Tell us about your day job
I work alongside the multidisciplinary teams in the Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre in Belfast. My job involves working with inpatients, outpatients and domiciliary visits. I assist the lead physiotherapist in the rehabilitation of patients through patient assessment, patient education, patient treatment, hydrotherapy support, audit, research, stock management and equipment checks. A large part of my job involves assisting with the adult and paediatric clinics. The physiotherapist carries out the patient’s annual musculoskeletal (MSK) screening and I record all the data (similar to how a dental nurse works alongside the dentist). During clinic I also replace faulty or worn equipment, arrange appointments, prioritise who we need to see and issue relevant questionnaires.
It sounds like you go the ‘extra mile’ for patients and colleagues?
This was a new post in the area. This meant that I have been able to develop the role. I observed gaps where I thought I could put my skills to use. I was given the opportunity and support to take on new roles. We recognised the need to make our teaching sessions with the children fun so I have been developing games and puzzles to keep their interest and to educate them at the same time. Our patient group will be attending clinics for life and I think it is important to keep a good rapport with the patients and parents.
If I can do anything to help them along the way I try my best. The skills of the team are new to me and I am interested to learn from them and assist them in any way I can.
What keeps you going?
The team I work with are very encouraging and keen to try new approaches when appropriate.
I have been given the opportunity to attend conferences and courses where I was able to network with patients and other health professionals. It is an exciting time to be working within the haemophilia team as, in recent years, there have been advances in the treatment available to the patient group.
They are now encouraged to participate in activities they were previously unable to do. This calls for a change in mindset and practice for both patients and health professionals. I look forward to the days ahead and the opportunities they bring.
What’s your next step?
I plan to keep producing resources to be used to educate our children in a fun way and to keep them interested in looking after their health. Hopefully, in the future, I can get some more training to enable me to take even more of an active part in our patients’ annual MSK screening and also to equip me to be able to deliver exercise programmes to our patient group. I am keen to try new approaches in my workplace – it keeps the job interesting, exciting and enjoyable.
Any tips for associate members seeking to widen their goals?
For 13 years I was content with what I was doing but for the past three years I am really enjoying what I do and it’s all thanks to redeployment. It is not something I actively sought but, alongside my fellow associates, one of us had to move. With their agreement I took the opportunity to take the step on to a new career path.
Don’t be afraid to move out of your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals. In moving to somewhere new you challenge yourself to look in a fresh way at your job. Be aware of needs in the service your team provides and don’t be afraid to be the one to aim to find a solution to that need. Seek out a mentor who is willing to assist you to achieve your goals.
- Judith Cochrane is a physiotherapy assistant at the Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre, Belfast City Hospital
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