From cleaner to cafeteria, to health care assistant – Jo’s story

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When Jo Adlam joined Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre as a night cleaner for theatres eight years ago, she could not have foreseen that she would move from there to the cafeteria – and then on to become a health care assistant on the ward.

Jo, 42, from Plymouth had always wanted to work more closely with the hospital’s patients. She joined Peninsula eight years ago as part of the theatre night cleaning team, left for a while and then returned to work in the hospital’s busy cafeteria.

But it was while volunteering as a chaperone for patients using the mobile MRI scanner that Jo got the chance to start her health care assistant training, which began last September.

She said: “I always wanted to do more with patients, and the work as a chaperone confirmed that to me. I got to know the nursing staff better and said to Cathy Webber (Ward and Day Surgery Manager) that if ever an opportunity came up, I would love to go for it.”

The departure of a health care assistant provided Jo with the chance she needed. She gave Peninsula's management her CV and had an interview, and was given the job.

Since then she has been assisting nursing staff with patient care, and they in return have been training Jo to do a number of procedures including taking blood and removing catheters, cannulas and drains. Staff from the outpatient department are also teaching her how to take an ECG.

Jo said: “The experience is amazing, and everyone is really helpful and supportive. It’s lovely to welcome patients to the ward still sleepy from their operation, and then to care for them and see them leave with smiles on their faces. My husband and children are really proud of me for taking this step.”

Jo will start preparing for an NVQ in health care assistance later this year.

Cathy Webber, Ward and Day Surgery Manager at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, said: “Jo is a great health care assistant, quick and eager to learn. She is an inspiration to us and a great example of someone who is not afraid to change tack and work hard to secure the career she really wants. We routinely train health care assistants this way as part of the team, as preparation for and during the NVQ process.”

Patricia Warwick, Hospital Director at Peninsula, added: “Jo is a great example of how we work hard to ensure that all our staff achieve their potential and professional development. Anything we can do to encourage those with a bright future is seen as a sound investment by us, and this is mirrored in the excellence of our patient experience which keeps people choosing us for NHS treatment time and time again.”

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