A background about Helen:
As an Oncology Counsellor, Helen acts as an advocate for patients and their families, always striving to improve the treatment journey of patients. She's been integral in developing new support services at The Cromwell Hospital, such as the reflection rooms, a quiet place for our customers and our people to sit and reflect. She also helped establish the hospital bereavement group, supporting families and carers cope with the death of a loved one. She also works hard to improve the mindfulness of our people, enabling them to offer a better service to our customers.
What award did you win and what is your story behind it?
I won the Compassionate Care Award. This award recognises individuals who have delivered care or support above and beyond what is expected. I was nominated for the award due to my role in developing new support services at the hospital. I have organised reflection rooms and a hospital bereavement group – both of which are available to our customers and our staff. I have a close relationship with my patients and their families and they really open up to me about their fears and thoughts for the future. I allow them the space to grieve, cry or rant in a safe environment whilst providing a supportive viewpoint.
How did you feel when you heard your name being called out for the Compassionate Care award?
Even being shortlisted was a great surprise to me! When my name was called I was so surprised. I had read all about the other great work that had been done by the other shortlisted nominees and I didn't feel that mine was on the same level. I felt very humbled to have won the award but also very proud to represent the Oncology Ward and The Cromwell Hospital. I received a £200 voucher that we put towards a celebratory meal for the team. It was a fantastic prize and we used it in November when everyone needed a bit of a boost.
Since winning the award what opportunities have arisen?
Since winning the award last year I feel that my confidence has improved and I am now able to make a difference in the hospital and channel our patient's thoughts into larger areas of influence. I have been involved in the rollout of the gold standard framework for patients at the end of life which started at the beginning of this year. I am maintaining all of the support service groups including Mindful Monday's and Schwartz Rounds. Since winning the award last year I have also become a finalist at the Bupa Global Awards which was an honour. I am focusing my energy into 100% of my work and not becoming complacent after winning and becoming a finalist at both of these awards. I feel very lucky and remain very humble.
10 months later from winning your award; what's next for you Helen?
We are working on getting a better reflection room in the hospital and we are also looking to host an annual remembrance service for all the patients we may have lost. This will be a chance for our patient's families and the hospital staff to remember our patients and to celebrate their lives. One thing I wanted to do this year was learn a new skill for myself. Funnily enough the hospital have started tap lessons, as I have two left feet I thought this would be not only a great way for me to improve my coordination but also to have a little laugh at myself during my lunch breaks!
In terms of your career; who inspires you the most and why?
Viktor Frankl is a big inspiration of mine. He was an existential psychotherapist, who survived Auschwitz having lost most of his immediate family to the concentration camps. His response was to create a therapy which focussed on meaning-making and compassion, which I find an extraordinarily thought-provoking and moving response to such a horrific and traumatic experience.
Are you planning on nominating anyone for this years Clinical Excellence Awards?
I have thought of some nominations that I will submit from The Cromwell Hospital, I urge everyone to submit a nomination; no matter how big or small the piece of work may be even being recognised is so rewarding.
If you would like to submit a nomination to the UK Clinical Excellence Awards please click here for the instructions on how to nominate.
Helen Storey collecting her award with Paula Franklin and David Hynam.