Today, Thursday 14 October, we’re celebrating Allied Health Professions (AHPs’) Day by highlighting some of our team and the work they do.
There are many Allied Health Professions - Art therapists, drama therapists, music therapists, chiropodists & podiatrists, dietitians, occupational therapists, operating department practitioners, orthoptists, osteopaths, paramedics, physiotherapists, prosthetists & orthotists, diagnostic & therapeutic radiographers, and speech & language therapists.
You can find out more about all of these professions on the Health Careers website; We are allied health professionals | Health Careers
On Allied Health Professions Day we’re highlighting some of our AHPs and how you can get into the professions.
Samantha is a Senior Radiographer and a newly qualified Sonographer.
She says; “I have been a practicing Radiographer for eight years, primarily working within X-Ray. During this time I completed further training within Bone Density where our role aims to provide early diagnosis of osteoporosis. Further management could then be offered to prevent additional progression of the condition.
“Over the past 14 months I have also been training within Obstetric and Gynaecology Ultrasound and I have now completed my postgraduate certificate and am currently working as a Sonographer performing Ultrasound examinations.
“At school and college I enjoyed science - with a particular interest with regards to anatomy and physiology.
“When attending career events I was always drawn to the Diagnostic Radiography stalls, and looking into the career I noticed that there were multiple pathways within Radiology such as general X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT, MRI, breast imaging and more.
“The number of career avenues and amount of progression available within the role of a Radiographer were both key deciding factors when choosing my own career.”
To find out more about Allied Health Professional roles in Radiography please visit; Information on being a diagnostic radiographer - Degrees and Courses - NHS Careers (healthcareers.nhs.uk)
Heather is a Senior Occupational Therapist in our Pain Management Team;
“I have been a Pain Management Occupational Therapist (OT) at the James Paget since 2016. Recently, I was successful in taking on an additional post as the Allied Health Professions and Sciences Clinical Educator.
“I chose my profession as I wanted to support and enable people with physical and mental health conditions to live the best life that they could.”
Heather is an inspiration to anyone considering switching careers. A former estate agent, she chose to train to become an Occupational Therapist shortly after the birth of her youngest child and qualified in 2014. She then worked in a secure mental health facility and for Norwich & Central Norfolk MIND before joining the James Paget in 2016.
She says; “I wanted to do something different and something that challenged me. I knew I wanted this to be in the health sector so I attended an open day at the University of East Anglia and was inspired by a presentation about Occupational Therapy.
“It is amazing how my previous abilities as an estate agent have transferred to my change of profession. I still attend home visits and the people skills learnt are valuable whether you’re talking to house buyers or patients – and I’ve never regretted the change.
“I now specialise in working with patients with Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions, supporting patients to develop strategies, techniques and the tools to self-manage their pain symptoms.”
Heather joined the pain team after previously completing a placement at the hospital while she was studying for her degree at the UEA. She now also works as the AHP and Sciences Clinical Educator, working with our education team and higher education institutions to support our James Paget educators and the next generation of Allied Health Professionals.
To find out more about a career as an OT please visit; Information on being an occupational therapist - Degrees and Courses - Health Careers
Becky is a Paediatric Physiotherapist with our Newberry Child Development Centre team;
“I have worked at the Newberry Child Development Centre as a Band 6 Paediatric Physiotherapist since 2012, before which I was a rotational Band 5 physiotherapist at the James Paget. I decided I wanted to specialise in Paediatrics after completing my rotation and being inspired by the children I worked alongside. They often show so much resilience to the situations they face and are great fun to work with!
“I absolutely love my role and feel really fortunate to work with such an amazing multidisciplinary team too who are always supportive and kind. We treat a range of children with different conditions and I love the variety that comes with the job.
“It has been a real privilege to have worked alongside some wonderful children and families over the last nine years, and to have had the opportunity to try and help them through the different challenges they have faced.”
Find out more about becoming a physiotherapist here; Information on being a physiotherapist - Degrees and Courses - NHS Careers (healthcareers.nhs.uk)
Sarah, pictured below, is Head Orthoptist at the James Paget.
She says; I assess patients with a range of conditions affecting their eyes. Typically babies and children are referred for management and treatment of amblyopia (or lazy eye) and strabismus (misalignment of the eyes or squint). With adults, it is more likely to be for management and treatment of a range of conditions leading to double vision, often following neurological episodes, such as strokes or brain damage.
“There are a range of treatment options which may be employed in the management of these conditions such as eye patches, eye exercises, prisms or glasses. I am the manager of both the orthoptists and optometrists at the James Paget and these professions work closely together alongside the Ophthalmologists.
“I enjoy working with children and to see the improvement in their eye conditions following treatment. It is also very rewarding to be able to help patients experiencing double vision by improving their symptoms. Patients undergoing certain treatments are seen regularly so it is nice to build up a rapport with patients and their carers. In addition to my work as an orthoptist, I am a clinical tutor. Orthoptic students attend placements in my department and it is satisfying to make a small contribution to training the Orthoptists of the future to ensure the profession continues to develop.”
To find out more about Orthoptists, please visit the Health Careers website; Information on a career as an orthoptist. Training courses - Health Careers
Two of our Orthopaedic Occupational Therapists (OTs) have presented at the national Royal College of Occupational Therapists’ Annual Conference earlier this year – becoming the first from the James Paget to successfully submit and have their work accepted.
The conference, held on the last day of June and the first day of July, is the flagship event for the Occupational Therapy profession and is a showcase of developments and innovations in the field.
Senior Occupational Therapist Kate Lacey and Specialist Occupational Therapist Melissa Taylor, pictured above, who both work in Trauma and Orthopaedics at the James Paget, submitted two abstracts for the Conference – a presentation entitled ‘Identification and management of acute delirium: an emerging role for occupational therapists’ and a poster ‘An integrated approach to hip fracture rehabilitation introducing occupational therapy input within 72 hours of surgery to improve patient outcomes and reduce length of acute hospital stay’. They were informed in April that both had been successful and they presented their session to over 400 delegates at the virtual conference on 30 June.
The presentation was praised by participants as ‘a clear and succinct demonstration of theory into practice’ and ‘insightful, informative, practical and clear’.
Melissa said; “The idea for the submissions came from our work with orthopaedic patients on Ward 6 who have undergone surgery for femoral (hip) fractures.
"We realised that a higher-than-average number of patients were showing signs of delirium, which can take the form of sudden confusion, drowsiness or agitation, and is often a terrifying experience for patients and their families.
"Among other complications, delirium impacts rehabilitation and recovery, and increases risk of mortality. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the prevalence of delirium, with significant economic implications to health and social care and intensive demands on resources.
“Early identification of the condition is vital and for our patients with hip fractures, screening for delirium must take place by day three post-operatively and is part of our best practice guidelines. In the hospital this was traditionally a role for the ward doctors or orthogeriatricians, but we found that occupational therapists are uniquely skilled to lead delirium screening and management and can help to deliver multi-component interventions to reduce the impact of delirium.
"On the wards the orthopaedic OT team now support the completion of delirium screening and work alongside the medical team to help identify and reduce the incidence of delirium in our patients."
Kate says; "We received really positive feedback from delegates about the presentation and it has inspired other trusts to consider how OTs can be more involved in delirium management across a range of sectors and areas."
Among the comments received from participants were;
“Great presentation, this has re-sparked a lot of thoughts and ideas I can take forwards, thank you!”
“Thank you - it is interesting to see you making changes to this area. I think OTs have a lot to offer and much of what you have done could be easily transferred to community interventions with carers and care homes.”
“Really useful and practical advice – great presentation.”