My Role as a Paediatric Rehabilitation Coordinator

Nina Currie @NinaCurrie4 @ScotTraumaNwk @Nos_MTC nina.currie@nhs.net

In Scotland, it is estimated that each year there are 100 cases of major trauma in children under 16. Fortunately, these cases are few and far between at my place of work in Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (RACH). However, when they do occur, they have life changing effects on patients and their families. The Scottish Trauma Network has been in the spotlight recently, with both Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and RACH going ‘live’ as major trauma centres in October 2018. New and exciting opportunities have come along with this and I have been lucky enough to take on the role of Paediatric Rehabilitation Coordinator.  This role was advertised both to AHPs and nurses, which left it open to interpretation with a fairly broad job description. With my background as a Physiotherapist, the role interested me as it seemed well suited to my skill set – after all rehabilitation is familiar territory to us!

So here I am, 5 months in. Let me give you the lowdown…

The first few months were spent finding my feet (and a desk!), with people asking me ‘what do you actually do?’ and ‘can you explain to me what the purpose of your job actually is?’ It turns out that this is much harder to describe than I had imagined and 5 months on I still don’t have a very concise answer! I’m involved in service development, audit, education and coordination of patients’ rehabilitation needs, to name but a few. I am very lucky to work alongside a team with a wide variety of experience and out of 4 paediatric rehab coordinators in Scotland, 2 of us have a physiotherapy background and 2 have nursing backgrounds in ITU and A+E. Therefore our perspective of rehabilitation differs somewhat but our mixed experiences help to ensure that rehabilitation starts as early on in a patient’s journey as possible.

8 weeks into the job, whilst sitting at my desk one afternoon, I received a short but concise phone call. ‘There’s been an RTC involving several children, you need to come down to resus’. My immediate reaction? PANIC! This was (and still is for the most part) completely unfamiliar territory to me and 8 weeks in I was not expecting to be in resus, with a very panicked parent, awaiting the arrival of their partner and children by ambulance. Previously, my understanding of rehabilitation had not been quite so literally at the front door!

The days and weeks that followed really helped me to define my role, give me direction and understand where my role really fits in. Predominantly, I am a single point of contact, source of information and support for patients and their families at a time of chaos in their lives. When patients are admitted with major trauma, they meet a lot of different faces – doctors, nurses, paramedics, therapists, psychologists etc etc. The list goes on! Having that one constant person they can always turn to, pick up the phone to or simply write down questions to ask the next day, has a huge impact on their experience as a whole. The feedback I received from that parent was simply ‘thank you for helping me through the toughest time I have ever faced’.

The Scottish Trauma Network – ‘Saving Lives. Giving Lives Back’.

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