Last week, I was lucky enough to undertake work experience with a specialist midwife who deals particularly with safeguarding patients. While predominantly an observation based placement, on Wednesday I took part in a Level 3 Safeguarding course, alongside paediatricians, nurses, radiologists and midwives. This was an incredible opportunity and allowed me not only to speak to healthcare professionals but to understand the approach they take to patients who are vulnerable, or whom they suspect may be physically or mentally abused, mentally ill or a substance misuser.
From this experience, I gained an insight into how important patient care is, and really getting to know your patient. Enabling them to talk to you about what may be their worries increases their chances of getting out of an abusive relationship, reporting sexual abuse or even admitting that they just need help. Similarly, the importance of minor worries being referred was hugely evident, and I learnt that safeguarding is about the accumulation of information to prove whether Child Protection, Early Help or Children In Need plans need to be provided for example. Small bits of information pieced together give a much larger picture. An example of this is, in one instance, if a mother of a baby has special needs and struggles to learn new skills then there is a slight worry. However, if she then is not financially stable, isn’t attending appointments and is with a partner with a history of abuse, then there is a huge worry and intervention needs to be seriously considered. Therefore, this was a huge eye opener to the variety of the role of not only doctors but all healthcare professionals, and that patient care is a varied and in-depth practice, and in some instances more important than clinical techniques.
Similarly, on reflection this work experience taught me how much being in a hospital or medical environment is being part of a team. The importance and significance of every role be it doctor, midwife, nurse or family supervisor just to name a few, was hugely apparent. But more importantly, without constant communication between these roles, patients would not receive adequate care, and could potentially maintain living in a serious environment. I have learnt that working in healthcare is not an individual profession, and patient care is always the priority.