It’s national Allied Health Professionals’ Day on Wednesday 14 October, which aims to raise awareness about AHPs and the countless roles there are, from occupational therapists, to chiropodists and dietitians, the list is endless!
Sarah Davies, an AHP herself, is now part of Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Senior Intern team. The team is there to support newly qualified clinical staff as they negotiate their first months in their new roles.
Having spent 27 years in the Trust in various roles, Sarah is passionate about supporting her fellow AHPs. She said: “There are AHPs across so many staff groups in our Trust, which means my role is so varied – no two days are the same.
“I love building relationships and trust with them – helping them to sort out any issues so they feel happier and more settled in their jobs. AHPs are integral to our teams, so it’s really important we use opportunities like this to raise their profile.”
Sarah started her career working with children with disabilities in the community, which was where she fell in love with working in therapies. She joined the Trust as a technical instructor and while she’s also held several clerical roles, she always veers back to her passion for therapies.
One of her favourite roles was as a therapy assistant with the Collar and Brace Aftercare Service, which supported spinal patients. She said: “It was such a great team to work with. We would help patients with washing their hair and changing their collars.
“As it was quite a specialist service, I was also able to go into other hospitals to share what we did. It was about caring for these patients as outpatients, so they didn’t need to stay in hospital.”
Sarah’s role supporting newly qualified AHPs became more important than ever when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, with newly qualified AHPs facing redeployment and a challenging time with more acutely ill patients to deal with.
She added: “I found more than ever they needed someone to talk to. It was beneficial to as by offloading to me, it meant they didn’t take any issues or worries home with them.
“I saw a lot more people than usual, and was able to refer those who I felt needed additional support to other services our Health and Wellbeing team was providing. There was a mixture of issues people were dealing with, some found it difficult on the wards and dealing with more death than usual. For others, they were worried about their own families.
“I think this role suits me as I’m a bit of a mother hen. I’m a friend who is always there for them. There was nothing like this service when I was starting out, but then, it’s very different now.”