As our Children and Young Adults Service turns 15 we wanted to introduce you to some of our amazing staff. Without them we wouldn’t be able to provide the services we do to so many North East families.
Diane Nicholson, Team Leader, has been a member of the team since we first opened our doors back in 2003. Diane tells us more:
What is your role at St Oswald’s?
I’m very proud to be one of the two Team Leaders on the Children and Young Adults Service. I joined the team back in 2003 when we first opened our doors.
What was your background before joining St Oswald’s?
Before I worked on the Children and Young Adults Unit I gained a wealth of experience in Paediatrics at Durham University, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.
Why did you apply for a job at St Oswald’s?
I applied to work at St Oswald’s as at the time you could see a growing need for a service like we offer. Advances in medicines and surgical treatments meant that children were surviving longer than they would have done in the past, and their health problems were increasingly more complex. This resulted in exhaustion and desperation and families would look to hospital wards for respite, which was not the right place. It also meant the families were working hard around the clock caring for their children with no breaks.
St Oswald’s has a very solid reputation so I was already aware of the wonderful work they did with adults, I’d also followed the Jigsaw appeal, which launched the Children’s Service. When I got the job I was so excited for the challenges ahead and I can honestly say that I’ve loved my time here.
What are your favourite memories of St Oswald's?
That’s a really tough question! I have tonnes of great memories of my time at St Oswald’s. It’s impossible not to have great memories here.
We’re here to help the children and young adults make the most of their lives. They are here to have fun so great memories are churned up continually, from spontaneous games of Hide and Seek, to sing-a-long sessions, as well as St Oswald’s Got Talent! There are plenty of great outings, and fantastic parties. It’s great fun!
What do you enjoy most about your role here?
I absolutely love my job! My role is guiding and supporting our team through the day-to-day challenges that we face, whilst also working as a Children’s nurse on the unit. All of the staff really want to make the children and young adults stays enjoyable and fun all whilst providing outstanding care. When the motivation to perform to the max is high, it makes my job much easier.
How has the Service changed over the last 15 years?
Advances in medicines have rocketed over the past 20 years. This has impacted our Unit as the children and young adults have more complex treatments and care requirements. The team must continually adapt to these ever-changing advancements.
All of the children and young adults are very individual and the staff have to be aware of their fine tuning to try and figure out how best to mimic the care prescribed by medics, and ultimately their families.
The service has grown dramatically too. Our numbers have more than doubled, as have the staff.
I’m sure there will be more changes to come. The team are keen and dedicated, and I know that the future under their charge is bright.