Celebrating International Women's Day on Friday, 8 March

InternationalWomensDay-portrait-purpleonwhiteInternational Women’s Day is centred around promoting and celebrating the achievements of women and raising awareness around having gender balance across our communities.

Here at University Hospital Southampton, we’re constantly promoting the achievements of all our staff within our workforce, which is well represented by women in senior leadership roles.

Over the last year, we’ve shared many news stories that highlight women and their invaluable contributions to healthcare. Here are just a few that hit the headlines.

We welcomed Helen Wilkes to UHS as the UK’s first specialist nurse for mesothelioma with a focus on supporting armed forces personnel. The rare and aggressive form of cancer is often associated with exposure to asbestos and Helen plays a vital support role for many local people who have worked in the dockyards, in the power station in Fawley or have been based here during navy service.

One of our paediatric dietitians created a new recipe book to help babies born with heart disease get the most out of every mouthful. Dr Luise Marino combined feedback from parents as well as the best available evidence and expertise to provide tasty and nutritious meals suitable for vulnerable babies.

Ying CheongProfessor Ying Cheong and her team of experts pioneered a device that could bring in “big changes” in fertility care worldwide. The tiny 5p-sized device monitors oxygen, pH and temperature levels from inside the womb to help clinicians understand more about healthy womb environments and give many more women the best chance of conceiving.

In a study led by Professor Catharine Gale from the Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit discovered that distress was a significant risk factor in developing some chronic diseases. The results could inform changes in screening and may help to prevent and manage diseases.

In our children’s hospital, Dr Catherine Hill researched the impact of loss of sleep in hospital and introduced improvements to sleeping environments for young patients and their parents. Sleep for Health in Hospital is now being rolled out nationwide to help children across the UK.

We’ve also been delighted to announce a number of successes in various award ceremonies.

Sarah Charters MBEIn 2018, we got the chance to celebrate two awards for services to mental health in the emergency department (ED) – both won by a team of women.  Sarah Charters, consultant nurse and emergency department mental health lead was awarded with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to vulnerable adults. Sarah has played a significant role in increasing the availability of mental healthcare in the ED as well as introducing a vulnerable adult support team (VAST) to work alongside clinicians.

The team were later recognised as part of the 2018 Nursing Times Awards and named winner of the emergency and critical care category. The VAST initiative provides better support to patients who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. This has led to a range of improvements, including life-saving referrals to specialist support services.

At the start of 2019, Dr Beth McCausland was named foundation doctor of the year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She was nominated for her quality improvement work in dementia care and commended for her “clear dedication to her patients and developing innovative projects to ensure quality and development in the future.”

Posted on Friday 8 March 2019