This week our Face of SaTH is Becky Whitfield, one of our Diabetic Retinopathy Screener/Graders, who is based in the Hummingbird Centre of our Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
“I studied a degree in Orthoptics at the University of Liverpool but in the final year I left to have my son - there was a vacancy for a Diabetic Eye Screener/Grader for maternity cover so I applied and got the role - that was 8 years ago!
“I started off as a job share and now my role has developed into a 5 day week mix of screening in the hospital and community setting, grading of retinal images as well as leading and mentoring our new screeners who have recently joined the team.
“A typical screening day could involve going out into community settings or staying within the hospital setting (at Shrewsbury or Telford Hospital) - we cover the whole of Shropshire so I can find myself in Ludlow one day and Market Drayton another depending on service needs. We get around 140 new referrals into the Eye Screening Department every month, so we run more clinics where the need is greater. On a screening day I see between 20-30 patients a day, which involves taking a brief medical history, vision checking, administering dilating eye drops if necessary and then taking 4 images of the retinas. An administration day can involve training and mentoring the newest team members, auditing and grading the images - checking the retinal images for any signs of diabetic retinopathy and then making sure they are referred on to the most appropriate pathway for futher treatment where necessary. I also compile the annual patient satisfaction survey and undertake the sight impaired audit within the department.
“My favourite is definitely the patient contact - the patient always comes first and I thoroughly enjoy seeing such a broad range of people who are so grateful for the service that we provide them to help look after their diabetes. I want every single one of them to leave my clinic feeling like they have had a friendly and positive experience at SATH. I also love supporting and empowering my own team members, we have such a fantastic and supportive team here in DESP and in the Hummingbird.
“My biggest achievement within the department has been helping the six new team members settle into their roles by assisting with their training and development needs and growing into my new role supporting the management team in DESP.
“Myself and a colleague are swimming 22 miles to raise funds for Diabetes UK so at the moment I'm spending a lot of time in the pool! I am also a VTCT qualified massage therapist so I do this in the evenings and weekends. I am also studying a Masters degree in Public Health. I can normally be found at the Montgomery Waters Meadow 3pm on Saturdays watching Shrewsbury town, if not i'll probably be running my two children about from one play date to another!”
Wonderful work Becky – good luck with your swim! ????????.