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Michelle Baigent
Healthcare assistant

As a surgical ward, we see patients both before and after their operations, as well as those who come in via the emergency department, so there's always a need to adapt to whatever their condition is.

We work to a regular routine of observations and helping the patients eg with washing, eating and drinking and using the toilet. Because the patients here are all at different stages in their recovery, we're always adapting how we work. Some patients might have to lay flat for four to five hours at a time, so caring for them is different to caring for someone who may have, for example, lost their legs due to diabetes.

I've worked in surgery for six years now, and when I started this ward was for short stay patients; more like a day surgery. Now, we see patients on a longer term basis, and it tends to be older people in the 60-80 age group.

It's a challenging role, and in our area, we sometimes see patients who are with us because of drug abuse. They might have poor circulation in their limbs, or be disabled because of years of injecting, but its important to understand why they starting taking drugs to begin with. There's usually a reason, and a big part of this role is being able to listen.

This is a good place to work, and as a training hospital, there are plenty of opportunities to develop.