2nd May 2016 – Theatre staff celebrate 20 years of working in a better environment at Airedale
A celebration is being held for operating theatre staff at Airedale Hospital to mark 20 years since their new building opened.
Around 80 employees work in the theatres including nurses, consultants, clinical theatre managers, healthcare support workers, recovery staff and operating department practitioners plus anaesthetists and surgeons and they will be discussing how times have changed and looking at historic photos over a special buffet at lunchtime on Tuesday 12 May.
Clinical theatre manager Karen Taylor, from Skipton, came to work at Airedale in 1988 as an anaesthetics nurse and has many memories of what is used to be like working in the previous operating department.
Formerly there were five theatres instead of eight and the old buildings were dark and dingy with only one window in the coffee room so staff found it difficult to know what time of day it was or what the weather was like outside.
Karen said: “Most of our patients go home on the day of surgery now due to advancements in surgical techniques such as keyhole surgery, lasers and changes in anaesthetic practice – a large proportion of our patients don’t go to sleep for procedures.
“Patients are much more at the centre of what we do in theatres and are encouraged to be more involved in their experience. They can choose how they come to theatre and children can wear their favourite pjamas and onesies.
“For me it’s one of the best jobs in the world. You get to help patients and their families during what can be the most difficult time of their lives. It’s exciting, challenging and very rewarding.”
Nichola McGhee, healthcare support worker from Keighley, has worked in theatres for 14 years and was also one of the first patients in the new building.
She said: “Everything used to happen behind closed doors – but now we are much more open and have events for the public so they can ask questions and discuss their experiences, visit schools giving educational talks and have closer working relationships with other wards and departments.
“Things have changed over time to include more team working, a multidisciplinary approach and a friendly working environment.
“Although we are employed by the hospital we work for our local community. They have very high expectations and we have a duty to deliver a high quality for care to our patients. We are proud to service our community and make lifelong friends at work.”