Colleague Jill Monro tells ProspectUs about a recent opportunity she had as part of her role in the National Careers Service.
"As an NCS Adviser working in the North West London area, I am privileged to visit the Spinal Cord Injuries Centre (SCIC) at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.
Here, I deliver a National Careers Service to patients who have been involved in accidents which have left them paralysed, either from the neck or waist down, and are at the Centre working through their rehabilitation programme.
I was recently invited by the Spinal Injuries Association's (SIA) Vocational Support Officer, Jamie Rhind, to attend a Master Class at Stanmore SCIC to support their trainer. SIA is the leading national user-led charity for spinal cord injured (SCI) people. They are well placed to understand the everyday needs of living with an injury, and they meet those needs by providing key services to share information and experience. They also campaign for change, making sure each person can lead a full and active life.
The Master Class was 'Options: Life & Work After Spinal Cord Injury.' The first part of the day covered signposting to sources of benefit advice, support available in the workplace and advice on managing an impairment in work, volunteering or education. In the afternoon, patients had the opportunity to discuss CVs, interview techniques and any specific issues or concerns, and talk to the trainer and myself one to one.
Twelve patients attended the Master Class. A few minutes into the event we received notification that one of the patients on the ward had a chronic throat infection and after a risk assessment, the hospital Microbiologist suggested that, for our own safety and as a preventative measure, it would be best if we moved venue. In the meantime, two solicitors who were attending the Master Class but had arrived late were not allowed onto the ward and had to sit in the garden listening through an open window!
While we waited for an alternative venue to be found, our names and contact details were taken by a Health and Safety Officer, who told us to let the hospital know if we developed a sore throat or cold in the near future. As you can imagine, we were slightly concerned! When another training room was found, all the wheelchair bound patients had to make a long and difficult trek across the hospital grounds. However, we all remained in good humour and quickly settled in to our new venue.
It was a very interesting and informative day. All the patients enjoyed the Master Class and feedback indicated that it had been a resounding success."
Other SIA Master Classes take place regularly throughout the year at other SCICs around the country, but to my knowledge I am the only National Careers Service Adviser who visits patients at these centres.
For more information on the Options Master Class please visit www.spinal.co.uk
Jamie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.