Care Support Worker Liz assists the nurses in the care of the children, young adults and their families. Here she tells us more about her role and what it means to be part of The Donna Louise team.
"As a Care Support Worker I am allocated a child / family at the beginning of each shift. I take responsibility for their personal, emotional and recreational needs, taking into account their specific medical needs, abilities, likes and dislikes.
"Each child has an individual, detailed care plan setting out their care needs, which can include oxygen therapy, internal feeding, suctioning needs and their daily routines. The care plan helps us to plan our day's activities and routines, but most importantly it tells us about all the fun things the child likes to do and wants to do during their stay."
Liz has to be very flexible in her role as no two days are the same. She explains, "I can find myself shopping with the teenage girls, taking a child to a hospital appointment, singing (badly!) with a group of young people, playing FIFA on the PlayStation with the boys, getting messy in the playroom or simply sitting at a child's bedside reading stories or chatting. This job is very varied and some days you just have to go with the flow.
"Part of my tasks and responsibilities involve some medical skills and therefore we have to be fully trained and up to date with the policies, procedures and competences. This ensures safe and relevant practice. Sadly my job does sometimes involve providing end of life and bereavement care to our children and families. This is never an easy task but it is one that is a privilege to do and is very rewarding."
Before joining The Donna Louise, Liz's background had predominantly involved working with children. She had completed a BTEC Diploma in Childhood Studies and worked in various educational settings as a nursery nurse before becoming a Senior Nursery Nurse at a local Primary school. She had also worked at a Woman's refuge.
Liz originally joined The Donna Louise as a volunteer within the Care Team. After several months a job became available which she applied for and has been here for seven years now. Her time as a volunteer gave Liz an excellent insight into working at a children's hospice, although she admits she was initially unsure what to expect.
"Coming from a non-medical background I worried about the practical and daily tasks of looking after children with disabilities and life limiting conditions, however I didn't need to worry as the training and support I was given by my colleagues made me feel at ease and part of the team.
"We have a vast programme of learning and training which is ongoing from the day you begin to work here. This enables us to be fully trained and competent to look after our children's individual and sometimes very complex needs. The training is led by our in-house education team and keeps us up to date in current practices and procedures.
"When you first start working at The Donna Louise, you have induction training and a mentor to help you settle in throughout the probationary period. Following this, we all have mandatory training each year which includes basic life support, safeguarding, infection control, fire safety, moving and handling training and other relevant learning opportunities which are beneficial to our role."
Liz has worked at The Donna Louise for more than seven years now and thoroughly enjoys her role. She added, "If someone was considering a role here, I can highly recommend volunteering, like I did, as this gives you a real insight of what the Hospice is really about.
"There are so many enjoyable aspects to my job and I love working as part of a team that strives to make this a fun, lively and vibrant environment for every child that visits us. We truly aim to make every moment count."
To find out about you can join the team and the vacancies we currently have available CLICK HERE.