Children’s Hospital

Our Children’s Hospital provides a 24-hour service for young people living in Derby and Derbyshire. Here, 24 members of staff tell us about a day in the life of their role, from first thing in the morning, to last thing at night.


Sip Mabhikwa, Lead Paediatric Radiographersip-mabhikwa

  • The day has started with X-raying a suspected non-accidental injury. These cases can be difficult, but it’s an important part of my job
  • It’s fracture clinic this afternoon, so we’ve had a few broken legs and arms in the waiting room.
  • Another thing we look for is curvature of the spine, which we do with full spinal X-rays. Imaging can tell us so much.
  • Later today I’ll be seeing a premature baby for a chest X-ray to look at why they are struggling to breathe.


Vicki Barratt, Clinical Psychologist working with young people who have experienced abuse or neglectvicki-barratt

  • Children might be living with family, in foster care or Children’s Homes. They often have attachment difficulties and are traumatised by their experiences.
  • Today, I’m meeting a Foster Carer and Social Worker to think about how three sisters manage contact with their birth parents.
  • My colleague Gemma and I are going to do a therapy session with a 7 yr old girl and her carer to help her develop trust.
  • Later, I’m meeting with Children’s Home staff to help a boy engaging in sexualised behaviours about keeping him and others safe.
  • In the meantime, my colleague Melonie is planning a training session on attachment for prospective adoptive parents.

Gareth Evans, Advanced Clinical Practitioner in CEDgareth-evans

  • First job of the day to take blood and cannulate a young patient – always a challenge with toddlers, but she was brave!
  • I’ve just been told by the Play Team that I give out too many bravery stickers.
  • We’ve got a child with respiratory problems, so I assessed his chest before giving him an inhaler.
  • I’m well known for passing on my knowledge to junior members of staff. I like to help them learn.
  • Ready for a quick trip to Costa to keep the caffeine levels high for the rest of my shift!

Sally Osborne, Physiotherapistsally-osborne

  • I had a teenager pop in for treatment on her knee dislocation before school.
  • We’ve got a teenager lower limb rehab group this afternoon. We’ll ramp up the tunes and get them doing their exercises.
  • Called to one of the wards to help a little one whose knees have been broken to improve his movement.
  • Looking forward to our hydrotherapy session tomorrow. It’s normally good fun.
  • Lunchtime! And a lovely treat courtesy of our weekly Great British Bake Off challenge!

Jo Watson, Lead Nurse for Paediatricsjo-watson

  • I’m meeting with one of our paediatric consultants and the pharmacy to discuss a pilot for the new hospital@home scheme.
  • I’m off to have a walk around the wards and departments to see how all the children, parents and staff are doing.
  • On my way to one of the wards to complete an assurance audit with the Senior Sister to ensure all is running well.
  • Later, I’ll be meeting with all of our Senior Sisters to discuss our plan of work for the week.
  • I’m interviewing for a discharge coordinator, a new role for us to ensure outpatients are discharged quickly.

Kate Partridge, Clinical Psychologistkate-partridge

  • Stellar, our autism team, carry out assessments, run parent and child groups and provide help for families who need it
  • The Paediatric Psychology team works with psychological, emotional and behavioural issues related to physical health and its treatment.
  • Our patients range from babies in the neonatal unit, to teenagers struggling with an illness, accident or treatment.
  • Needle-phobia is stopping a child from having essential medical treatment so I’m helping them to overcome this.
  • Working with a teen who suffered a brain injury to see if a recent change in behaviour and performance at school is linked.

Sarah Hazeldine, Paediatric Occupational Therapistsarah-hazeldine

  • I start the day by reviewing our priorities and heading to the wards to see kids who might need therapy before going home.
  • Time to sort out equipment for children going home. It’s ordered online or from our hospital store- you may see my on the corridor with a commode!
  • Outpatient clinic, for splint making, 1:1 advice,  group work,  neuro-developmental assessment and hand therapy! Variety is our middle name!
  • Writing up all my notes and completing referrals to other professionals, plus writing reports! Paperwork galore!
  • Ending the day dealing with fracture clinic referrals for splinting or equipment. Time to hang the green trousers up for another day!

Jordan Neill, Medical Secretaryjordan-neill-web-2

  • We have a variety of jobs we do as part of our secretary role, one of them being typing letters for patients who have attended clinics.
  • We’re the first port of call for our patient’s parents/carers and helping with any queries they may have.
  • We cover a range of specialities from your head to your toes and everything in between.
  • We liaise with colleagues at other local hospitals and sometimes even get to deal with the big guns at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
  • It’s always busy here in the office and each day is different.  We facilitate the smooth running of the office.

Emma Barnes, Professional Development Advisoremma-barnes

  • I’ve just finished supporting a new staff nurse doing their drug assessment.
  • About to deliver some patient handling refresher training to ward staff.
  • I’m also developing new nursing docs to make it easier to record care and ultimately enhance patient care
  • I’ll spend some time later planning the newly qualified nurse induction week for those starting in September
  • Off to train a new Health Care Assistant to measure nursing observations on children.

Dawn Abbey, Assistant Practitioner in Children’s Outpatientsdawn-abbey

  • I’m in fracture clinic plastering a boy who broke his arm falling off his trampoline. We get a lot of trampoline accidents!
  • I’ve had to call on the Play Team to distract a little one who’s a bit upset about their broken leg. Bubbles at the ready!
  • We’ve got a busy diabetic clinic planned this afternoon. Children get a one stop shop service here.
  • ENT clinic later, so we’ll be seeing kids with tonsillitis, glue ear and other conditions.

Dr Vanessa Cox, Paediatric Consultantvanessa-cox

  • Coffee first, then review patient test results from clinic – I see huge variety of patient problems which keeps the job really interesting!
  • Teaching our medical students next – love meeting families on the ward and honing the next generation of doctors’ clinical skills
  • Weekly consultant meeting – today I outlined our new Hospital at Home service being trialled later in Sept #excitingdevelopment
  • Networking with mental health colleagues this pm – I meet the eating disorders team at CAMHS regularly for patient updates
  • Meeting with hospital’s ‘Transition Lead’ – how can we improve services for patients moving from paediatric to adult services?

Jacqueline Raffle, Play Team memberjacqueline-raffle

  • Time to head to the pre-assessment clinic. We help prepare young people for theatre.
  • I’ve spent the last 15 minutes on my knees blowing bubbles in one of the treatment rooms – it’s never dull!
  • Following the red and blue footprints to the anaesthetic room, Where’s Wally in hand!
  • In the midst of a game of Rummikub with a lovely group of young people in the teen room; I’m clearly done for here!
  • It’s all about playdough and painting for the little one I’m with today. I’m entertaining him while he’s in traction.

Louise Noble, Youth Workerlouise-noble

  • We’re just back from a residential with the young people. There were lots of fab & exciting experiences for them. Amazing!
  • Showing the new youth worker Louise Trower the facilities at the Children’s Hospital. Great to have her on board.
  • Discussing how to improve services for YP. The Youth Forum is a great space for YP aged 11-18 to feedback their views.
  • Getting ready for youth club. YP want to go retro so we are having a party to celebrate 20yrs of the Children’s hospital. It should be fun.
  • Already thinking about activities for young people for half term and Christmas hols!

Dave Ensor, CAMHS Rise teamdave-ensor

  • Introducing myself to patients admitted overnight is a great chance to provide reassurance and rapid interventions, if needed.
  • I’m off to our community bases for follow-ups with patients to help them develop their own support systems for positive change.
  • Afternoon group session helping young people achieve empowerment in their lives. It’s so important to work with them to build this.
  • Called to CED as a young person is threatening suicide. He’s struggling with difficulties in his friendship group and with his parents.
  • Time to hand over and reflect on what we’ve and achieved while having a well-earned mug of tea and cake

Lucy Shonfeld, Community Paediatricianlucy-shonfeld

  • Today I have a clinic. The children and young people I see have conditions such as developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder and ADHD
  • I’m meeting with a family for the first time after diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder, so we can talk over things.
  • I’m going to meet my colleagues to peer review some safeguarding cases. Safeguarding is a stressful but very important aspect of my job
  • I also do health review clinics for children in care. We ensure that the most vulnerable children receive the health care they need

Nicky Brett, Children’s Community Nursing Teamnicky-brett

  • I’ve just been to the home of a young cancer patient to take a blood sample. We will give them chemotherapy tomorrow
  • A big part of our role is to teach parents how to feed their children with nasogastric tubes and gastronomies
  • Meeting with the multi-disciplinary team to organise discharge of a child with complex disabilities and pneumonia
  • We’ve got some children coming in for tests to manage their Warfarin dose
  • We provide a 24/7 service for young people at the end of their life and support their parents through this incredibly difficult time.

p15-robRob Bradley, Staff Nurse on Sunflower Ward

  • I’m on the night shift, so I’m in for a night of observations and making sure our patients are settled and pain-free.
  • We do observations through the night, as well as administering medicine. I have to be quiet so I don’t wake the patients who are sleeping.
  • Off home to sleep at 7am as the day shift arrive. Time for a handover, a quick catch up and then I’m done for the night.
  • I’m on days later in the week – looking forward to the buzz of a busy ward as patients arrive and take over the play area.

Ian Lewins, Consultant in Children’s Emergency Departmentian-lewins

  • I’ve just seen a 7-yr-old with abdominal pain and fever. She needs a blood test and surgical review as she might have appendicitis.
  • A nasty elbow injury for this little one after he fell off some monkey bars. Off to X-ray for him.
  • I’ve seen a 2-wk-old baby with a fever, who needs a ‘septic screen’ – a lumbar puncture, cannula, urine and blood tests and antibiotics.
  • We’ve had a referral from a GP worried that his young patient has a serious issue with the glands in his neck. Thankfully he’s ok.
  • We have a 9-yr-old on the obs unit with a condition called HSP, who we’ve brought back for a review of her symptoms. 

Nina Heighington, Staff Nurse on Puffin Wardnina-heighington

  • This evening their conditions include a chest infection, a young person with mental health issues and a child with a post-operative appendectomy.
  • We turn the lights down at 8pm and help children get ready for bed, as well as laying out parent’s beds, if they’re staying over.
  • The doctors come to discuss any concerns about 9.30, and then we do observations at 10, 2am and 6am to check temperature, pulse and oxygen.
  • One of our patients has woken up in pain, so I’ll give them some pain relief.
  • We get admissions anytime of the night tonight at 3am we have had a child with a chest infection who needs IV antibiotics and oxygen.

Karen Morris, Paediatric Site Practitioner

  • Hi, I’m Karen, Paediatric Site Practitioner. I manage bed demand and staff shortages at night and support the doctors.
  • We’ve got a staffing issue on the community team, which I need to sort out so the children get the care they need.
  • We’re getting busy in Children’s ED, so I’ll jump into nursing mode to help out.
  • There are a few children in need of cannulation, and one who needs a prescription. I’ll help with those patients.
  • It’s up to Puffin ward now to help staff deal with the increased demand there.
  • I’ve got five minutes for a cuppa and a browse through some reading for my Masters.

Sally Gibson, Senior Staff Nurse in NICUsally-gibson

  • We have a massive team of nurses, doctors, HCAs and support staff working to care for babies born up to 14 weeks early.
  • Babies come any time of the day or night so we always have an emergency admission space ready with all the equipment
  • I’ve been talking to parents to support and reassure them- looking after them is a very important part of the job.
  • A very special moment – getting a baby out of the incubator for kangaroo cuddles, where he lies naked next to mum or dad’s skin.
  • Babies who are on the maternity ward with mum sometimes have to come to NICU for tests or antibiotics. These parents are often anxious too. 

Rosie Peck, Nurse with the Continuing Care Teamrosie-peck

  • I’m starting the night shift with a little boy with respiratory problems. I stay with him while his parents sleep.
  • I have to be in the room in case he pulls out his ventilator or it stops working.
  • I’ve noticed he has a cough, which could point to something more serious. I’ll keep an eye on it.
  • It’s time for me to get him up and dressed for school. It means his parents can get on with their day.
  • My colleagues will take him to school and stay with him all day.

Richard Bowker, Clinical Director for Paediatricsbowker-richard-dr-080626-10-paeds-copy

  • On-call tonight, so I’ve had a handover from the day team. Hopefully I’ll manage a good night’s sleep with no calls.
  • Just had a call from a paediatric reg for advice about a patient with a rare condition. Thankfully they have it under control.
  • I’ll be up for the day shift soon. Child protection meeting first to discuss injuries found on a baby. The family needs extra support to keep the baby safe.
  • New family arrives in clinic.  Their baby has a kidney blockage, but it won’t need treatment. I could feel their relief as I told them.
  • My clinic is running late – again. It’s my fault to talking too much! Most families appreciate the extra time though.

Ady Buckenham, Senior Operating Department Practitioner in Paediatric Theatresady-buckenham

  • My role includes providing assistance to the anaesthetists during procedures and working in the recovery room.
  • It’s really important to maintain good communication with colleagues in theatre, as well as with the patient, carer and other departments.
  • It’s my job to support, advise and direct my colleagues throughout the day to make sure we can deal with whatever comes through the door.
  • We also provide emergency cover for under threes, as well as obstetric work.