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Yay to our HCAs. CHFT's special celebration is launched by 6B's Christine Healey.

They've been hailed the "shop window" to the organisation and in recognition of everything they do for us, CHFT is celebrating our HCAs.

Our Trust has 750 HCAs in our teams and departments -  that's around 12% of our total workforce -  so they're a huge part of how we care for our patients.

Our Chief Nurse Ellen Armistead has hailed  them  as our "shop window" and she and Deputy Chief Nurse Lindsay Rudge are hosting some coffee-time drop-ins for our HCAs in the next few weeks. 

Ellen, says: "Our HCAs are the ones at the patient's bedside (or chair side) and are the shop window to the organisation.

"Through my many conversations with those who use our service I am well aware of the contribution HCAs make to a positive patient experience, and I regularly receive feedback on how caring and compassionate they all are. 

"The behaviours of HCAs can have a long lasting impact on patients and are often fondly remembered for years after patients have used our services. We simply could not provide care to patients without our HCAs and they are a highly valued part of the team and it is for this reason we decided to have an appreciation week.  To all of our HCAs - thank you from the bottom of my heart!"

We've a special HCA to launch the celebration - 69-year-old (yes, really) healthcare assistant Christine Healey, pictured.

Christine has her own place in CRH history as she helped in the first patient into the hospital on the day it opened to patients in April 2001. (The Princess Royal, Princess Anne visited in March 2004 to confer its royal status).

Christine, recalls: “I collected a lady called Rosemary in a wheelchair and I walked onto the ward. It was a very proud moment."

Christine's been a HCA with us  for 33 years and at one time worked as the domestics’ supervisor during the day then a shift as a HCA afterwards.

She nursed her own father in the last two years of his life with her sister, and loves caring for patients with dementia.

She says: “I love being hands-on I try not to get too involved but you can’t help love somebody.”

And she has a special approach.

"I tell them” Hello My Name Is Christine and I am here to care for you. I try to be friendly and jokey but only as much as I know my patient would want. Sometimes you have to step back." 

She enjoys being part of the team 6b and keeping up with all the changes on the ward which can be a challenge but has advice for anyone thinking about being a HCA.

“It is hard work but it is very rewarding. New things are happening all the time and a lot changes. I don’t like it when we are short-staffed but we always cope brilliantly – especially in emergencies.”

Christine has three children, six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren and loves her her two long-day shifts on Ward 6 as well all the taxi-ing and pet-sitting.

So has she thought about retiring?

She laughs: “I am thinking about next August….. but I’ve been thinking that for the past five years!