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International Women’s Day 2022

08 March 2022

It’s International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.

We have so many women who inspire us every day at Sheffield Children’s in roles all across our Trust! We took this opportunity to chat with a few of our colleagues about how they break the bias.

Julie Dykes and Sam White, Enhanced Support Officers

Meet Julie (left) and Sam (right), best friends of 12 years and Enhanced Support Officers at Sheffield Children’s.

What does being an Enhanced Support Officer involve?

Julie and Sam in OutpatientsSam: We make sure the hospital is a safe environment for patients, families, and colleagues. During the pandemic, this has also meant we help make sure COVID guidelines are being followed. You would usually find us based in Outpatients, the Emergency Department, or doing checks throughout and around the outside of the hospital.

Julie: We also might get called to an inpatient ward to support young people during vulnerable moments, for example if they’re experiencing mental health difficulties.

Why did you choose to become an Enhanced Support Officer at Sheffield Children’s?

Sam: This has always been a path I wanted to go down. I’ve thought about becoming bouncer and have worked as a steward. Before this role came up in May last year, I worked in a similar one supporting people with dementia.

Julie: I started the job a few months ago. Sam and I have known each other since college, and we worked together before. I’d heard good things from her about her job, so when this one came up, I decided to go for it!

What would you say to any women thinking about pursuing a career like yours?

Sam: Being able to see patients’ journeys is very rewarding. We support children and young people during some really difficult times so it’s great to see them progressing.

Julie: If you’re compassionate, committed, and respectful, you should go for it.

Shreya Srinivas, Consultant Spinal Surgeon

What role do you have at Sheffield Children’s?

Shreya I am a Consultant Spinal Surgeon working with both children and adults across Sheffield Children’s and the Northern General Hospital. My role mainly involves treating children with spinal deformities such as Scoliosis or related conditions and adults who have injuries to their spines due to trauma or conditions that affect the spine. I sometimes get to see some of the children we treated at Sheffield Children’s as they continue to receive care once they’ve become an adult.

What training was involved to be in your role?

My medical journey began in South India where I trained and qualified as a doctor before moving to the UK to pursue surgical training. I was a junior doctor in hospitals around South Wales and Bristol, then once I passed my initial surgical exams, I joined the Orthopaedic specialist training program. I knew at this point that I wanted to specialise in Spinal surgery, so I continued training in Vancouver, Canada and later at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. Having completed my fellowship training I then began looking for a role which allowed me to work with both children and adults and in 2020 this role became available.

Why do you work as a surgeon?

I love working with children, they are honest and show great resilience; it always amazes me as to how brave some of them can be. I also enjoy the technical challenges of my surgical field and when things go well, it can be very satisfying.

What do you like about working at Sheffield Children’s?

Sheffield Children’s is known for the excellent care they provide for children both nationally and internationally and I feel very lucky to be apart of the team that provides that care. I felt very welcomed from the beginning and I have been very well supported especially as a newcomer during the pandemic. Everyone looks out for each other and we all understand the importance of working as a team.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy reading about food, talking about food, trying out new food and cooking food! I also enjoy being outdoors and it has been a delight to explore all the green spaces around Sheffield (with dog, child, and husband in tow).

As it’s International Women’s Day is there anything you’d like to say to women thinking about pursuing a career like yours?

An increasing number of girls are joining medical school but not as many think of exploring Orthopaedics or spinal surgery as a career choice. The training years are hard but there is increasing support and more understanding of work/life conflicts. You get to meet and work with some amazing people and it’s very gratifying when you help children (and adults) walk and move better.

It’s also a very exciting time for innovation as there is new technology (navigation, VR, robotics) making its way into surgical practice, that will hopefully improve patient and surgeon experiences. I would encourage girls to think beyond stereotypes (Sheffield already has seven orthopaedic female consultants, more than five in training and many of them are mums too) and know that being an orthopaedic (and spinal) surgeon can be a very rewarding career choice! 

Ruth Brown, Chief Executive

Ruth Brown with Theo bearWhat role do you have at Sheffield Children’s?

I am Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s. I was appointed into the role in December last year and my role mainly involves being accountable for the Trust and developing partnerships with others.

Why do you work as Chief Executive?

I am really passionate about the NHS and providing good quality care and experience for everyone. I love working with children and young people, we can learn such a lot from them about how we shape the future.

What do you like about working at Sheffield Children’s?

The people! We have so many extraordinary people here at Sheffield Children’s and they make me feel proud every day.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I come from a large family and my children are all grown up. We have wonderful get togethers and that involves the occasional table tennis competition. I love seeing them and my friends, going to the cinema or theatre, doing a bit of karaoke (in a private booth) and walking my dog.

As it’s International Women’s Day is there anything you’d like to say to women thinking about pursuing a career like yours?

There are so many routes to achieve whatever you want to – don’t be put off if something doesn’t work for you. Find some people who inspire you and take every opportunity to learn. Never forget to leave the ladder in place when you have success or opportunity for others to climb.

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