Paediatric intensive care healthcare assistant

Joan AbreuJoan Abreu
Lead Healthcare Assistant, Paediatric Intensive Care, joined the Trust in 1993

What is your role?

I am the Lead Healthcare Assistant on Paediatric Intensive Care (PICU) at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. My role involves leading a team of healthcare assistants who support the intensive care nurses in PICU.

I am responsible for ensuring the healthcare assistants have the right training and education to carry out their roles. I am also responsible for ensuring the PICU team has the correct and sufficient stocks to safely care for the children.

What does a typical working day look like?

Needless to say it’s very busy. Part of my work involves supervising and teaching junior colleagues. If I am the only healthcare assistant on shift, my day starts with handover after which, I draw up the information boards with names and contact details for doctors on duty for the day. I then go around to each bed space stocking bed side trolleys with disposables and tidying so the unit looks neat, tidy and organised.

The rest of the day I will be busy setting up beds for new patients, assisting with patient care, running blood gases, taking children to the ward, organising transport for children to go to other hospitals, getting meals, organising parent accommodation and supporting parents when they are distressed.

I am also responsible for ordering some of the large amounts of disposable items we use, arranging bookings for bank and agency staff and helping with the emergency bookings. I also help manage the database on which we collect patient data to fulfil our Department of Health reporting responsibilities.

As lead healthcare assistant I am always looking to see how we as a team can improve the support we give to the trained staff and to the parents.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the fact that no two days are alike and that my work keeps me busy.

What level of patient contact do you have in your role?

The children are our patients, but of course the welfare of the parents is important too. I greet them both on arrival and make them feel welcome at a time that can be very stressful. I give them information about the ward. I occasionally help trained nurses with patient care, but primarily my role is to support the trained nurses so they can remain at the bedside at all times.

What other members of the healthcare team do you work with?

Apart from other healthcare assistants I also work with a matron, sisters, staff nurse, doctors, dieticians, technicians and procurement staff.

What do you like about working for the Trust?

Working for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has given me scope to develop. I joined as a Band 2 and I have worked my way up to Band 4. I have been given the opportunity to study and while at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust I have completed my NVQ level 3 and the A1 assessors’ course.

Why did you join the NHS?

Because I always wanted to work in a caring role.