Joanna Fakayode is a Senior Nurse at STEPS Rehabilitation having qualified in 2008. Prior to joining STEPS, she had worked in a wide variety of hospital and community settings.

In this blog, Joanna shares what her typical day at STEPS involves.

From the very first moment that I walked into STEPS Rehabilitation I knew it was a very special place. It has a fantastic atmosphere; it is bright and welcoming, and you can tell it is a place that is well loved. There is a real camaraderie amongst the staff and you very much feel part of a team that is working together to make a difference to people. I can honestly say it makes work a pleasure!

Working as a Nurse at STEPS Rehabilitation

My day starts with a handover from the night staff, allocation of clients, and planning for the day ahead. The Rehab Assistants (RAs) spring into action, assisting the clients with personal care, breakfast and getting ready for their first therapies of the day.

I start with the familiar medication round, ranging from clients who are self-medicating, to those who require medication via a PEG. The medication round, like everything else at STEPS, revolves around each client’s individual needs and therapy programmes. This can be a new challenge for nurses who may be used to the routine of a hospital ward, but I have found it a refreshing one.

Personalised Nursing Care

Lots of areas of nursing talk about ‘putting clients first’ and ‘personalised care’, however I have never seen this done as effectively as it is done at STEPS. Each client is treated as an individual and I find it hugely rewarding to play an integral part in each clients’ rehabilitation journey.

My day is usually taken up with PEG feeds, tracheostomy care, supporting clients in their daily routines, and working with the RAs to ensure clients attend their various therapies. These range from physical therapies, such as: Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy, Hydrotherapy, Acupuncture, Occupational Therapy, Wheelchair aerobics and dance; to psychosocial therapies such as: Psychology, Art therapy, Music therapy, Individualised RA activities, Book club and Pet therapy.

One of the exciting aspects of working at STEPS is seeing clients progress along their journey both in their physical capabilities but also emotionally, when they find things they love and can take joy in again.

We have clients with a wide range of clinical conditions at STEPS, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, stroke, functional neurological conditions, amputations and locked in syndrome. This provides both a challenge and an opportunity as there is always something new to learn. As a general nurse, I’ve found that one of the great benefits of working at STEPS is the shared knowledge of the in-house multidisciplinary team: the Mental Health and Learning Disability Nurses, Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language therapists and Psychologists. Everyone, whatever their specialism, is approachable, friendly, supportive and happy to share their knowledge. We are working collaboratively for the benefit of the individuals in our care.

Making a difference

Due to the medical conditions of our clients and their often-complex needs, there are occasions when I come across something that’s new, or a situation I’ve not encountered before, when I need to seek the advice of others. I’m very lucky because we’re actively encouraged by the management team to explore and discuss individual clients’ needs with colleagues. Our Heads of Nursing and Management Team are wonderfully supportive and heavily involved in the rehabilitation journey of all of STEPS’ clients.

As the day goes on there is the usual chasing up of appointments, liaising with the GP, ordering medications, further medications rounds, documentation in clients notes, and other daily and weekly jobs. But the best part of my day is having time to talk to my clients and really get to know them, come along side them and support them. Being able to build a therapeutic relationship in which they feel safe enough to be able to open up about things that have been worrying them and working with the multidisciplinary team to help clients overcome their challenges, whether practical or emotional, reminds me of why I came into nursing - to help people and make a difference.

My day ends with handing over to the next shift and the feeling of inspiration at the determination and motivation our clients demonstrate in their rehab, which has inspired me not only to push myself to complete my masters but also to train for my first marathon!