Since starting my career at the Department of Health and Social Care in August 2017 I have jumped at every opportunity to learn and understand more about the health sector. I think the connecting scheme is incredibly beneficial to all staff members.
I arrived at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for 9am which is a common start time for many people across the UK. However, in Kingston Hospital some staff members were starting their shifts, and some were mid-way through shifts or ending their shifts. This meant that I got the opportunity to shadow and associate with different team members across my two-day connecting experience.
I don’t have any children of my own therefore I haven’t yet had the opportunity to step into a Maternity Unit, and I wasn’t sure whether binge watching one born every minute would prepare me for what to expect. Upon stepping onto the ward I was invited to witness a caesarean birth. Fascinated to see what it entails, I was handed ‘scrubs’ to put on and taken into the operating theatre. Although admittedly not for the squeamish, being a part of this was such an amazing experience that I was grateful to have been invited to and thankfully it didn’t put me off childbirth!
What one born every minute had not prepared me for was the amount of “behind the scenes” work which goes on at the maternity unit. I spent some time on the triage ward, where midwives were answering phone calls from parents-to-be with pregnancy concerns or who were thought to be in labour. Some instructed to stay put as they have 15+ hours to go and others instructed to immediately come in.
The pressures of hospital bed rates were evident in this area of the maternity ward as they couldn’t offer a bed to every female in labour. Some women were hours away from giving birth and during that time another family could be in and out of the delivery suite, evidencing the time and cost pressures on the NHS first hand.
My two-day connecting programme was organised brilliantly by Lyndsey who is the Consultant Midwife at Kingston. She had ensured that I got the full experience of the Midwifery Unit, from ultrasound scans, pre-natal appointments, delivery and post-natal care, including sessions with the mental health and bereavement midwife.
Every staff member at the unit was passionate about their job and my experience there was a clear indication of how brilliant NHS staff members are. The midwifery team showed care and compassion to every person who walked through the doors of the unit, whether it was a panicked first time mother or a relatively relaxed father of three. It was also incredible to witness how quickly the staff members adapt to every situation. In situations of panic or stress, they handle them with patience and care.
This connecting programme was a huge learning experience for me, mainly about what the profession is and the things the job entails. A key learning experience was how the midwifery unit collaborate and work as a team. The team worked so efficiently together always willing to help one another.
The more experienced midwives were willing to educate me on the profession and clearly explain things, and were also brilliant at assisting student midwives, showing that learning and development is a huge priority there.
I could not recommend the connecting programme enough; I have gained a huge insight into the pressures of the healthcare sector, specifically into a unit that delivers babies every single day – a unit that all of us have had an experience of, whether as a baby or a parent. It was also fascinating to witness how different their work life is to my own and also how important the NHS is to every person in the UK.
The Connecting team are now taking expressions of interest for the next Kingston Hospital programme that are due to take place in July – although maternity programmes won’t be on offer this time. Please contact Jane Ellis with your connecting objective.
Want to know more about how Connecting can help you and your team? The Connecting team (Jane Ellis in London and Roy Axon and Sophie Collinson in Leeds) would be very happy to join in with team meetings – get in touch via the Connecting mailbox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The next Connecting Comes to You session on 6 June will be led by Carers Leeds - an independent charity that gives support, advice and information to unpaid carers across Leeds. You can view their website here. The presentation will be held in Quarry House with video links to London and Burnley. You can book a place on the event here.