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 week-long 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.

At Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, Ward 38 is dedicated to Neurosciences and is usually a hive of activity that definitely keeps the support workers on their toes; Linda, Christine and Jayne are all Health Heroes, and here’s why.

Image: Linda Mosley.Mother Hen

Linda Mosley is the Ward Housekeeper on Neurosciences and is a self-confessed mother hen; she loves doting on all her patients and having a chat with their families.

Linda said: “I love giving up my time for other people – yes, really. I feel like the patients are all my kids, in a way. And the team are a pleasure to work with.

“There was one young boy who came in with a brain tumor and after it was removed, he couldn’t speak. It was thumbs up for yes, thumbs down for no. But over time and with practice, we saw him progress. A couple of words here, a sentence there. He ended up giving everyone on the team nicknames – mine was Lovely Linda. He was Amazing Adam. He was – still is, I’m sure - such a cheeky chappy.

“Seeing patients progress is one of the best parts of this job and I love seeing the colour return to their cheeks. When I serve breakfast I have a chat with everyone. Anything anyone wants, I will find it, whether it’s on this ward or another. It’s a pleasure.”

Image: Christine Gold.You’re never fully dressed without a smile

Christine Gold is a Hotel Services Assistant on Ward 38 and feels part of the family unit.

She said: “It can be a sad ward and you can see people at their worst. There was a patient here recently, it was their birthday and we didn’t know if they’d make it through the day – but they’re still with us.

“When you’re feeling ill, you might not want a cleaner to be there, but we’ve just got to keep on and keep smiling because we know that doing our job makes a difference to them.

“I’m always friendly with patients and their parents; I think it helps them feel more relaxed. We’re also able to pick up on things and be observant; which is vital, I think, especially with kids.”

Image: Jayne Downes.Progress

Jayne Downes is also a Hotel Services Assistant on Ward 38 and loves meeting new patients and watching them progress.

She said: “I do this job because I’m interested in people and if you can make people feel a bit happier, that’s all you can ask for. I like seeing patients get better and watching the children progress.

There was one boy who when he first came here, he could barely talk and wasn’t very confident at all. I saw him later when he came for a six-month checkup and he was standing at six foot tall! It’s very inspiring to see.

It’s nice that parents feel like they’re able to talk to us. I think it must help them to have someone there who isn’t medical but has still built a relationship with them and their child. You get different people all the time and each day is never quite the same. That’s why I do this job.”

The support workers of Ward 38 are just a few in 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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