Christine, Transitional Care Ward Manager

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Christine Simnett is currently the ward manager on Transitional Care at Peterborough City Hospital, she has been a midwife for nearly 20 years and joined the Trust back in 2004. Christine was a community midwife before heading to work in Transitional care in 2014 before landing the job in 2017 as ward manager.

Why did you want to become a midwife?

I’ve always wanted to be a midwife for as long as I can remember and according to my mum I was always fascinated with babies. I was living in the French Alps when I took my first steps towards the career I am now in, as I became a nursery nurse.

In 1999 I started my midwifery training at Glasgow University, and graduated in 2002. My first role was as a preceptorship midwife at the James Paget NHS Trust in Norfolk, I spent a year hear before relocating to Peterborough in 2004 to start a family and join the maternity team.

Tell us about your role?

I’ve worked in most areas of maternity, from community and delivery suite to the antenatal department. I started working on the Transitional Care Ward, back in 2014. It was this career move that really helped me to discover my niche as far as midwifery is concerned. I find looking after babies who require a more specialist care plan very rewarding, I help to look after premature babies, twins, those with infections requiring medication, jaundice and feeding issues.

Mothers and babies tend to have a longer admission period on Transitional Care and I love the fact that we get the opportunity to build relationships with the families involved and give them continuity of care which is of massive importance.

Transitional Care is a ward that I’m very proud to be manager of. We have a fantastic team who work incredibly hard to provide first class care to our patients. We were the first ward in the trust to be awarded outstanding on our CREWS inspection, and I truly believe this was down to the amazing people that work on here.

Above all the team are a massive support to me, and you are only as good as the team around you, this is why Transitional care has been running for over 20 years with such success.

What does your role involve?

I work Monday to Friday, and for two of those days I am clinical and work on the “shop floor” as a midwife, which is incredibly important to me.

Working clinically on the ward provides me with an opportunity to continue doing the job I love, but also a chance to ensure that our environment and care is of the highest standard. By working clinically I can identify any issues or concerns and facilitate change to rectify any problems.

What do you enjoy most about working for the Trust?

I enjoy working for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust hence why I have remained at the trust for nearly 20 years! I have always felt supported by my manager to progress in my career and develop. I’ve become very resilient over the years as I’ve matured and taken on further responsibilities.

I’ve witnessed many changes in maternity over the years and things move forward with the times, and I’m excited to see what changes are ahead.

How has Covid-19 impacted on your role?

“I think COVID has made all of us feel nervous and anxious at times, but as a team we have all supported each other and you can really see the NHS working at its best. The main change to my role initially was that I’ve had to work more clinically, which I absolutely love. I have to fill in the gaps when staff have been self-isolating and staying over my hours to support. This hasn’t been an issue at all – how can I expect my staff to go the extra mile and work more hours if I don’t do it myself.

“By far the thing that has made me the proudest of being a midwife at the moment is my amazing team, the midwives, nursery nurses, HCA’s, they have all gone above and beyond. They have been offering to come in extra hours on top of what they already work to keep the ward running and putting patient care first, sometimes before their own families.

“Working in PPE has proved challenging from a heat perspective but what has also concerned me is at times it has felt like a barrier between you and your patient as they can’t see facial expressions, which helps greatly with patient/carer relationships.