Elizabeth Chisoko - Technical Instructor

Fifteen years into her career and one of Hertfordshire Community Trust’s (HCT) technical instructors still finds her job as fulfilling and fun as when she started.

Elizabeth Chisoko, who works at Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Welwyn, says making a difference to patients' lives and working for a trust that takes her views seriously, are among the reasons she loves her job. She said: “I really like working for an NHS Trust which encourages staff to have their say. Knowing there are people willing to listen and help me make our service even better is great."

Supporting patients on a rehabilitation ward, Elizabeth works with therapists to get people back on their feet again with confidence.  Occasionally she holds an Olympic session for the patients, getting them to compete in a feet writing competition, as well as seeing who is the fastest drinker (she stresses there’s no alcohol involved) and running for the bus exercises while remaining seated.

She also encourages patients to do an exercise for someone special, such as a grandchild or husband. Elizabeth has a big pile of thank you cards and messages from both patients and her colleagues.

Elizabeth is proud to work for a Trust which is keen on supporting patients’ health and wellbeing. She said: “It’s not just the patients HCT is interested in, it places great importance on the health and wellbeing of staff.” In the summer, staff at QVM arranged a boxersise event to promote the importance of staff exercise. It proved to be a great hit with the patients who watched.

Before patients return home from the ward, staff take them back to assess if they are ready. The ward tries to offer a flexible service. “Many patients have been able to spend a day away at a special event, such as a wedding, and then return to the ward in the evening. We show them and their carer how to get in and out of the car and send them off with their medication and instructions for the day," said Elizabeth.

She added: “I’ve worked in acute trusts where there’s a big turnover of patients. In our rehabilitation ward, patients are often with us for two or three weeks.  We get to know them as people, hear about their lives and families. We work with every patient to set a goal they want to achieve.

“It’s great to see someone, who was very ill when they arrived, walk out of the building with some help or even unaided."

However, the support doesn’t end at the door of the ward. Community nurses, social workers and Age UK work with ward staff to make sure patients receive the right level of care when they return home and continue to achieve their own goals.

Elizabeth, who cares for her own mother, said: “As a health professional it is great that I can dedicate enough time and effort to our patients so they receive the level of care and support I want for my mum.”