National Apprenticeship Week - Blog by Tracy Watkiss

14th March 2016

14th - 18th March 2016 is National Apprenticeships Week.
As part of this week, we will be featuring a new blog every day from our Health & Social Care Apprentices

Tracy Watkiss is a Health and Social Care Apprentice, as well as an Apprenticeship Ambassador. Here she tells us about her experience of working on Edgcumbe Acute Assessment Unit as an apprentice.

"I am one of the Health and Social Care Apprentices from Livewell Southwest's 2016 cohort. When I was first interviewed for the apprenticeship I was asked the question, ‘in what area of healthcare would you like to work, either physical or mental health’?  I opted for mental health, and was assigned to the Edgcumbe Acute Assessment Unit. This unit is an acute admissions unit primarily for elderly patients suffering from various mental health problems in the area of dementia.

My role as a Health and Social Care Apprentice is instrumental in helping the multi-disciplinary team of Healthcare Assistants, Trained Nurses, Junior Doctors, Consultants, Advocates, Occupational Therapists and Social Workers. Through multi-disciplinary working, care plans are arranged and the ongoing support and funding put in place to support people living with dementia, either at home, within the community or in a dementia nursing home.

My daily routine differs depending on which shift I am on, but my main duties remain the same. I am required to carry out, aid and assist our patients with all of their personal care needs, for instance, washing, dressing, toileting and the encouragement of good diet and fluid intake. We carry out the clinical observations of pulse, respirations, oxygen saturation and blood pressure which enable us to see any changes and which may highlight illness we cannot physically see. We also carry out observations on our patients' mobility, skin condition and weight as well as the way in which they interact with other patients, family and staff members. All this information is recorded to build up a knowledgeable and true record of how patients live with their dementia and how we can provide them resources and support to them, their families and carers.

If I could have the last 6 months over again at Livewell Southwest, I would not change a single thing. Yes, there have been times when it has been tough both emotionally and physically, when things have not gone to plan or when patients have been distressed or frightened. This can be hard, but all staff members based on Edgcumbe ward and within the Clinical Support Team have encouraged and supported me every step of the way.

I find my role on the ward very rewarding and hope to secure a position within the organisation at the end of the 12 months if the opportunity presents itself."

To find out more about Apprenticeships with Livewell Southwest please click here.