After many years working with children I trained as a Nurse at Huddersfield University qualifying in 2007. I then started my new career working as a staff nurse on a neonatal unit, which I’ll be honest enough to admit I didn’t even realise existed until my final year student placement. I knew then that this was where I wanted to work.
I have now been a neonatal nurse for 11 years, and now work as a ward Sister and as lead for Family Centred Care for my unit. We are working toward BLISS BFFAS accreditation at the moment which is hard work but very rewarding.
During my work for my BSc (Hons) Professional Studies and MSc Health Studies courses I always tried to relate my studies to family-centred care, with my dissertations covering the impact upon families of having a premature baby, and neonatal nurses’ perceptions of family-centred care and how it impacts practice.
Jan de Mello
I left the army after 8 years and moved to Yorkshire with my husband and young son and started working in the neonatal unit where I still work today. Three years ago I decided to train to become an advanced neonatal nurse practitioner, taking on a different role.
I first became involved in raising funds for my own unit back in 2012. A group of us recognised that parents and siblings facilities were basic at best and so we decided raised funds to improve their environment whilst in hospital.
We achieved our goal but realised that we could continue to raise awareness across the network, so we applied for and finally received charitable status. Working for the charity is hard work, but is worth every minute to provide a better environment for parents, siblings and staff working in the specialty.
I have been a neonatal nurse for almost 13 years minus a brief 18 month period slightly away from it, and from doing my training knew that this was the area where I wanted to work. I have a passion for neonates and family-centred care and just love what we at SOFAB can offer in order to improve this.
I am also a massage therapist and have made a dream eventually come true by being able to offer parents on my unit a free service whereby they can have a massage or reiki once a fortnight in order to help them de-stress and think about themselves just for a short period of time.
For the three weeks that Thomas was on the unit the staff didn’t just look after him, they looked after us both. They explained everything at every stage and understood what would make me cry and how to make me laugh. I was able to stay in one of the parent flats on the unit for a few days which was fantastic, especially when Thomas stayed there with me the night before we went home. The family facilities and the attitude and patience of the staff were great examples of family-centred care.
I had no idea the amount of work it would entail when I was asked to join SOFAB but in hindsight I would have still agreed if I’d known! Hearing from someone who has been to one of our study days that they learnt something that could improve things for families on their unit, or hearing from a parent how valuable and precious their baby’s diary is (made using cameras, printers and stationary that SOFAB provided) makes it all worthwhile.
My fundraising mantra is ‘shy bairns get nowt’, one of my late Geordie Grandma’s sayings. The thinking being that the more people we ask to help at events, donate raffle prizes or bake for our cake sales, the more chance we have of someone saying yes and the more money we raise to improve family-centred care.
SOFAB volunteer, keen amateur chef, lover of cars and trucks.
‘I like helping at SOFAB’s cake sales and fun days because I like helping the families and babies who are in hospital like I was’.