01st June 2016 Written by SKills for Health

To celebrate International Children’s Day on June 1st, Skills for Health and National Skills Academy have launched a weeklong celebration to honour our children’s health heroes, giving everyone a chance to say ‘thank you’ to those who work in paediatric care – whether they’re volunteers, cleaners, postmen or chefs.

For this post, we want to focus on the assistants at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital; they work all over the hospital in various departments and are a vital cog in the well-oiled Alder Hey machine.

Image: Will Dunn.Where there’s a Will…

Will Dunn is a Theatre Care Assistant and loves being part of the theatre team at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. He works in the emergency theatre so every single day holds something different and challenging. Will is proud that by supporting staff like the scrub nurses, surgeons and anaesthetists, he’s playing a part in a child’s care.

Will said: “I’m biased but I think the Emergency Team in Theatres is the best. No matter what role you have in theatre, it is vital for the patients’ care; including mine as a theatre care assistant.

“Hopefully in the future I’m have the chance to study and qualify as an operating department practitioner. I know the team would support and help me through, as they do each and every day in our demanding job.”

His manager thinks he does a fantastic job and equally important, makes sure his colleagues are in high spirits for what is a high pressured environment. Camaraderie is great in theatres and that’s down to colleagues such as Will Dunn.

Image: Lauren Donnelly.There’s no place like home

Although Lauren Donnelly has only been part of the Alder Hey Children’s Charity for less than a year she feels like it’s her second home. As a Fundraising Assistant, Lauren is responsible for welcoming families and visitors into the charity offices and shop.

She helps to receive donations and completes all the thank you letters when people have kindly donated. Lauren is also on hand to help fundraisers with ideas and helps with the merchandise of the charity.

Lauren says: “Even though I’m not working directly with the children, seeing so many around the place brightens up the day. I love the new hospital and when you see the children enjoying their environment it makes all the fundraising efforts worthwhile.

It’s nice to know that in my own way I’m contributing the charity and helping to improve the lives of patients I see around the place each day.”

Image: Laura Sharples.From toy microscopes to Microbiology

Laura Sharples has held the position of Medical Laboratory Assistant for four years at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital but has had a lifelong interest in science. Laura is part of a team inspecting bugs helping to monitor children’s health; a far cry from the bugs in her garden that she inspected with her first toy microscope!

Laura’s role involves rotating between the various areas such as microbiology, haematology, bio-chemistry, new-born screening and histology.

She said: “I love how interesting my job is. One day I can be growing bacteria cultures or testing for MRSA, and the next I’ll be spinning blood down to check for results or monitoring blood cells counts which indicate if a child has a particular condition like cancer.

“It’s great being part of a large team. Everyone is supportive and helps ensure we provide the best service possible. It’s so interesting to see how new research studies are being developed which have the possibility to help future patients being treated at Alder Hey.”   

Laura, Lauren and Will are just a few of hundreds of health heroes that work behind the scenes in children’s hospitals across the UK.

During our Paediatrics Week and International Children’s Day celebrations we will be honouring these healthcare support workers and the vital roles they play in our children’s paediatric care.

To get involved or just to find out what we have been up to you can follow the updates here: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/ourhealthheroes

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