Opinion

24 hours with Clare Henderson

Clare is a peripatetic HV for the charity SSAFA, providing services in Cyprus to military and entitled civilian families.

My alarm goes off at…

5.35am, and I get up shortly afterwards. My husband and I get ready first (otherwise we have no hot water!) then wake our two teenage boys. It’s downstairs for breakfast making, packing lunch bags and a quick cup of tea before leaving at 6.40am.  

 

Work starts at…

7am. We have an earlier start due to the heat at the peak of the summer. I tend to meet colleagues to walk to work, which takes around 15 minutes and usually means taking in the morning sun. I generally start off in Akrotiri but could work at any of the four bases island-wide. Currently, Akrotiri in the western sovereign base area has the largest caseload, with over 400 children under five years – it’s mostly Royal Air Force families who live there and move every three to four years. We currently work until 5pm on Mondays and 2pm Tuesdays to Fridays, and no two days are the same.  

 

The HV’s role in Cyprus…

is somewhat different to the UK, as we don’t have a skill-mix team, so we are still responsible for all HV services: universal, target, targeted plus and safeguarding. On a regular day I could be doing a transfer-in visit (offered to all families registering with children under five years), antenatal appointments, primary birth visits, six-week postnatal reviews or any developmental reviews. HVs have extended roles here, providing newborn hearing screening services, immunisation clinics, infant massage sessions, Solihull parenting courses and safeguarding and early help training.  

 

A typical Monday starts with…

a multidisciplinary team meeting. A forecast of events is discussed as well as an overview of occurrences at the weekend. GPs highlight any cases they wish the HVs or children’s nurses  to follow up on. Monday to Wednesday appointments run from 8am and finish at 1pm. On Thursdays, my role can take me to Episkopi or Dhekelia in the eastern area to offer support with their caseloads as required.  

 

I also work as…

the local manager for the newborn hearing screening service and an immunisation coordinator, a role that includes training and audits. I carry out AABR hearing screening  across all the bases. On Fridays, I am fortunate to have some governance time for these two roles. I also coordinate the annual routine childhood flu campaign.  

 

The best part of my job is…

the weaning talk and baby brunch days – I get to be resourceful with fresh local produce, and the parents and babies love to eat simple, tasty family foods.  

 

Post-work…

I’d like to say I go to the beach but sadly this isn’t to be as I’m currently undertaking a master’s in advanced child protection.

 

Picture Credit | Alarmy & iStock

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