Joanne Norgate is a Speech and Language Assistant Practitioner at St. Richards Hospital in Chichester and has been working in the NHS for much of her career.
Tell us about your role and the impact it has on those work with
I currently work at Donald Wilson Neuro Rehab Centre as a Speech and Language Assistant Practitioner (Band 4). I assist the Speech and Language therapists (SLT) with patients who have an acquired brain injury. We largely support patients who have aphasia or communication difficulties and look at alternate forms of communication such as communication charts. We also support with a patients swallow if they are having difficulties, though is mostly the therapist’s role. As a support worker I feel that I get to build a rapport with the patients and families. I also bring a considerable amount of experience to my role as I have worked in other support worker jobs within the trust.
What attracted you to a role as a support worker?
Originally I applied as a Health Care Assistant in the late 90’s and fell in love with the clinical side of working in a hospital. I have preferred to stay within the support worker role as I feel being at ground level puts me in a privileged position of caring or supporting the patient/ clients without the distractions that higher levels jobs entail.
How has training/development helped you in your role?
I have been fortunate that the trust has supported me in most of my support worker roles with inhouse training and external courses that were appropriate to the role I was or am employed in. This has enabled me to move forward in my career and support colleagues and patients more effectively.
What are you most proud of in your role?
There is no one aspect- I am proud to be employed by the NHS and the opportunities that employment has given me over the years. I feel very privileged to have been part of someone’s journey whether patient or staff. I have always enjoyed learning about people their lives and what makes them who they are.
What would you say to encourage others into a role as a support worker with AHPs?
I would encourage others to explore support worker roles with in AHP (or other support worker roles) as it is a good starting point for further career progression. It will give you a good overview of the role applied for and if they want to go on to further training or qualification. Being a support worker brings a sense of achievement, community and wellbeing from knowing that you have been supporting patients through their health care journey.