The three elements of the Talent for Care strategy, Get in, Get on, Go further are clearly demonstrated in the piece below - a great example of the progression that can be achieved when investment is made in the healthcare support workforce .
Hi! i'm Jenny!
Hello, my name is Jenny. I’m an apprentice in the Rotherham General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. I would like to share my journey of how I got to where I am today with you. I have been approached by quite a few people to tell my ‘story’ so I thought I would finally give it a go!
As an apprentice in the Adult Speech and Language Department in the Trust, I primarily work with adults on the stroke unit who have communication difficulties. I’m a Health Ambassador for the Trust and volunteer for the Prince’s Trust as a Young Ambassador I am also a mother of two beautiful girls aged 3 and 1.
Let me take you on my journey...
My journey began when I went through a bit of a rough patch in life ending up with my family and I becoming homeless. I also experienced postnatal depression after the birth of my first child. Temporary accommodation was eventually found for us and it was whilst here that I received valuable support from a range of healthcare professionals; I was so inspired by the care and compassion offered to my family and I, I enrolled at a local college to study health and social care. However, being pregnant (I was now expecting our second child) with a young child and living in temporary accommodation was too much for me, and I dropped out of the course after three days.
8 months after the birth of our second child, we moved into our home. Again the support we received was amazing and my desire to work in healthcare was as strong as ever. I began browsing jobs online when I stumbled across the Prince’s Trust. I found a course they ran for 4 weeks called ‘Get Into...Hospital Services’. I submitted my interest and was called for an interview. I was thrilled to be offered a place, particularly as the day of the interview was the first time I had left the house in a year. I began working with a company in St Catherine’s Hospital in Doncaster called Flourish Enterprises, filling hanging baskets as well as putting together beautiful floral displays to be put around Doncaster centre. During the course we were given mandatory and statutory training for the NHS.
Whilst there, I was invited to write a story’ of my journey and to present this in front of a room full of NHS workers (including the chief executive)! One of the Prince’s Trust volunteers approached me after my ‘speech’ and asked me if I was interested in becoming a Young Ambassador for the Prince’s Trust. I am now 6 months into a year of being a Young Ambassador.
Completing the 4 week Prince’s Trust programme at St Catherine’s gave me the confidence to apply for an apprenticeship at Rotherham General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. I was delighted to get onto the apprenticeship programme – finally on track to a career in healthcare! I still didn’t know what area I wanted to work in but I knew I would find that out through experience.
Living the dream
The apprenticeship is a year-long and I’m now 11 months into it. Time has flown by and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned tons about healthcare and myself as a person. I am doing things that I wouldn’t have dreamt of being able to do. If you had spoken to me before my apprenticeship and told me that I would be assisting in giving speech therapy to adults who have had a stroke or if you would have said I would have been nominated for an award for my success, I would have laughed and definitely wouldn’t have believed you. My role as an apprentice within Speech and Language Therapy includes giving communication therapy to adults who have had a stroke. I can do anything from matching activities through to helping with Dysarthria (slurred speech) by giving oral motor exercises and clear speech strategies. I make communication booklets for patients with Aphasia (a communication difficulty) .The support that I receive from my manager and mentor and the Trust as a whole is invaluable. I have received training in public speaking and leadership and encouraged to take up other development opportunities; the only downside is the pa. I get asked about this a lot, especially as I have two children. My reply is mostly the same - I am more interested in the experience as this is what motivates me. I am happy to have a job and happy to be given the opportunity to learn and to progress. I know I can get a job that is paid well because of the experience I am gaining from my apprenticeship.
So what’s next for me?
I start a new role in September working in the community with patients who have progressive neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, MND and MS. I will be giving them therapy in their homes to help them with their communication. I’ve been asked to take part in the assessment day for a programme soon to be run by the Trust and the Prince’s Trust – the very programme that kick started my career! I have decided to become an Occupational Therapist and hope to undertake a degree programme at Sheffield Hallam University, after I’ve completed an Access course at Rotherham College which I start in September alongside my new community role.
For anyone looking into starting an apprenticeship, I say do it! You will gain lots of invaluable experience; it built my confidence immensely. I can’t stress how much I have benefitted from the Prince’s Trust programme and my apprenticeship. As a result of doing both of these and the support I’ve received, I‘m well on my way to having the healthcare career I’ve always wanted!