Children’s Hospitals celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS

NHS Staff that were once patients at a children's hospital

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NHS, we are sharing the stories of some of our incredible healthcare staff across the UK who were inspired by the care they received as children, to work for the NHS today. 

Stories like these remind us of the impact that excellent healthcare experiences can have on inspiring future generations to enter healthcare professions – and continue to provide world-class care to children and young people across the UK.  

Lottie, Trainee physiotherapist

Lottie had emergency surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) to remove a brain tumour of the cerebellum when she was seven years old. After her surgery, Lottie began physiotherapy to help her with walking and balancing.  

Inspired by her experience at GOSH, Lottie is now studying Physiotherapy (BSc), and hopes to specialise in paediatric physiotherapy. 

“It’s difficult to explain that there is so much hope in children’s hospitals. Even though they are going through the hardest times of their life, children continue to persevere. 

“I had such support from people like my physios and my play specialists at what was the hardest point in my life, and I want to do that for other people.” – Lottie 

Paula, Eye clinic liaison officer  

Paula was referred to GOSH in the late 1970’s and was seen by one of the first paediatric ophthalmologists who specialised in the care of children with vision difficulties.  

Now, Paula works at GOSH as an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) providing support and non-medical advice to parents, children and young adults around their visual impairment.   

“Growing up and during adulthood I became very aware that whilst my vision was carefully monitored and addressed that the practical and holistic care was disjointed. 

“For me, doing the job I do, means I can handhold parents through those early visits to ophthalmology, answer the questions parents are desperate to have answered, provide information and support to help at home and school and be a point of contact between appointments. 

“I am proud to be counted as a member of staff here and truly hope that the service we provide means that families feel they have the tools to enable them to make choices in order that their children can go on to achieve and live amazing lives.” – Paula  

Sam, Teacher  

Sam first came to Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust when he was 14 years old. He spent weeks in intensive care after sustaining a serious head injury.  

Today, Sam is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics teacher at Becton School at Sheffield Children’s.  

“Some days, when you can inject some fun, I think that’s my favourite thing, just making that little difference. 

“I need to say a massive thank you to Jenny [Deputy Chief Nurse who looked after Sam]. To all of the doctors, nurses, ambulance staff too. If it wasn’t for them and the team, I wouldn’t be here today. There’s a definite sense of gratitude and I owe them my life. That’s why I’ve found my way back here. You see the good that these teams can do, being around Sheffield Children’s every day.” – Sam  

Alex, Ward Sister  

Alex was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure when she was nine years old, and received a kidney transplant a year later at The Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.  

Today, Alex is a Sister on the paediatric renal medicine ward at the same hospital she was treated as a child.  

“I still remember the nurses who looked after me and supported my family 22 years ago. They inspired me to become a nurse and to work on a paediatric renal ward, so that I could look after children and families who were going through a similar experience.  

 “I think it’s important for children’s hospitals across the UK to work together because through collaborative working, you’re going to get the best outcome for your patient.” – Alex  

Cillian, Clinical Nurse Specialist

Cillian was born with a congenital heart condition and had heart surgery at just two days old.

Today, Cillian works with young people with congenital heart disease at GOSH, teaching them about their condition, preparing them for adult care, and empowering them to care for themselves.

“I know how much I valued staff making my time in hospital enjoyable and treating me as an individual person and not just as ‘another patient’.

“This role did not exist when I was attending my children’s hospital, although I wish it had… This focus on empowering young people to care for themselves and working with them so they can achieve goals such as going on a rollercoaster, or skydive, or a career as a police officer, is a change I’m very proud to be a part of. ” – Cillian

Lisa Beaumont, Therapeutic and Specialised Play Manager

Lisa was born with four kidneys and spent long periods of her childhood in hospital as doctors tried to diagnose her condition – during this time she often felt very lonely, unwell and bored.

Lisa’s experience as a child in hospital inspired her to make a difference to children spending time in hospital. Today, Lisa is a therapeutic and specialised play manager at Leeds Children’s Hospital and manages a team of over 30 Health Play Specialists.

“When I was a patient we didn’t have play staff, just a teacher who made you do work when you felt unwell! Now we bring elements of fun and involve children in their planned care by preparing and distracting them to hopefully make their journeys more positive.”

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