Opinion

24 hours with Louise Wolstenholme

07 September 2018

Louise is a health visitor and practice teacher within the 0-19 service at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, working in Roma health.

My alarm goes off at...

6.30am. I quickly check my Twitter and Facebook before the morning rush of seeing my two teenage sons off to school and myself out of the door.

I am responsible for…

a variety of roles within the 0 to 19 community service at Sheffield Children’s Hospital (SCH). Clinically, I work within a large health-visiting team of 34 staff delivering services to mainly BAME communities, where I spend the majority of my time working with Roma Slovak families. I am also one of three practice teachers in the city overseeing SCPHN education for HVs and school nurses. As the research academic lead, I have a remit to increase service-level research activity.

Work starts at…

variable times, depending on the day’s schedule. For instance, I could have a meeting at 8am. A recent one with the SCH research and innovation board was on how technology can improve child health and help with unmet needs. Next, I’ll often dash back to our community clinic to prepare for a home visit I’ve planned with our Roma Slovak link worker. It’s not uncommon to visit families with large numbers of children and to undertake several assessments based on their health and social needs. Afterwards, I’ll head back, grab lunch and type up records.

Our team-working…

results in less duplication of contacts, an acceptance from the Roma community of our role by recognising familiar faces, opportunities for peer supervision and increased cultural competence. When the Roma community first came to Sheffield, two HVs oversaw their care. Now a group of seven works with them.

A new innovation is…

our weekly health café. It’s run in the afternoon at a local school predominantly attended by Roma children. Currently, we deliver health messages around a topic identified by school parents alongside a traditional baby clinic. Meaningful engagement with the community is key – it’s important that we show we are interested, we care and we hope to make differences.

I am also…

studying for a PhD exploring Roma Slovak mothers’ dietary practices. This can involve any number of elements that I have to fit into my working day. If I have a PhD supervision, I’ll end the previous day preparing for it.

The best part of my job is…

the variety in my working day and the inspiring team I get to work with delivering services to our families. I enjoy offering learning opportunities to students and nurturing staff around their interests, such as the bi-monthly research interest group I co-chair with Sheffield Hallam University.

Post-work…

is when I ferry my sons to clubs and sporting activities where I might try to get out for a run. The family tries to eat tea together before settling into homework, revision and the nightly battle of reducing tech time. Hopefully there’s time for a quick box-set episode before heading to bed later than I really should.

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