Physical Health and Wellbeing Practitioner at Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health trust, Specialist Services.
I usually spend this time quickly reading my emails to determine what kind of day I will have and see if anything has come through which I must prioritise. I will also start to prepare for possible clinic days such as Clozapine or carry out any urgent bloods.
What I do day to day varies, I run clinics, patient groups (smoking cessation, sexual health), recovery college and physical health tasks such as phlebotomy, ECGs, wound care and post-op care.
I have recently spent time on designing and updating leaflets to make them far more visually accessible. This is a plus as it increases physical health promotion within the service. Another way I have encouraged health promotion is by creating screensavers amongst the wards, which advertises services available for patients and health awareness days. My day is also taken up by admin and audits.
How much variation there is, every day is different. I love the thinking on my feet and problem-solving element of my job.
I tend to grab a coffee and start to prepare for my afternoon, This might be a physical health group which is part of the ‘CHOICES’ Recovery college. These sessions are co-designed and facilitated by experts by experience.
I’ve been working for BEH-MHT for around 19 years, 15 years as a therapies worker in Occupational Therapy and in my current role for the last 4 years.
Overcoming my own battle with depression, alcohol dependency and achieving 4 years sobriety whilst re-establishing my career. I am so thankful for the support I received directly from my manager and from the senior management within the service.
I like to have an open door policy, which includes an opportunity for students to observe my work and being available to support staff.
Due to the ongoing work around health promotion, service users are now much more comfortable with open conversations regarding their physical health and requesting to talk about their potential needs (including sexual health checks). Open dialog has made a huge difference!
This is often a working lunch, a tend to ‘grab and go’ from the canteen or I get invites from the wards to join the staff and service users to eat with them.
‘Can you please write that in the ward diary’!
The service users are often very inspirational, such a varied group with varied backgrounds. I also find the open and honesty of staff re their own difficulties inspirational.
Getting up in the morning, I’m definitely a night owl!
When service users achieve their goals!
This role requires specific training such as phlebotomy, level 3 smoking cessation, sexual health as well as in-depth knowledge of Clozapine treatment and management.
As well as the specific training the role requires the person to be passionate about the promotion of physical health this also aids my current learning which is an Open University course of health promotion in public health.
Learning to be a phlebotomist I think has been fantastic. Alongside the theory, practice really aids your technique. This has also enabled me to work with service users that may need to have more time spent having a sample taken as they might be needle phobic for example.
Snippets of information, you can access learning with ease.
You need to be personable, self-directive, autonomous and organised!
It has taken me a long time to learn to be compassionate towards myself as I felt for a long time that I didn’t have what it took on so many levels. However, since getting better and back to work I can now say that this is possible. I have always been compassionate to others, colleagues, peers, service users. I believe it’s one of the reasons I’m in this job.
I make sure all my paperwork/notes are complete. I review the next day in the diary and inform the wards of any important information, such as a service user may be having a fasting blood sample, or we might need urine specimen from first thing in the morning to be sent to pathology.
I am usually off to rehearsals for ongoing theatre productions of which I direct or act in, and of course I also look after my girls….
This is a tough one; I think I would have to tell myself not to be so hot-headed or not to take things said so personally or to heart as it’s not about you, especially within my workplace.
A day in the life…
Interview with Helen Kehoe @helsbels88
Practice Development Lead, My Care Academy.
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