A new role which is the first of its kind in the region is making a real difference to health staff.
The change has happened at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust which is helping workers who have chronic health conditions.
It is fantastic to hear from staff who tell me that treatment or support has made such a difference to them.Jill Ness
And it has come about thanks to specialist worker Jill Ness who has just taken on a new role at the Trust.
Chronic conditions workplace advisor Jill has joined the trust’s occupational, health and wellbeing team to support staff.
She is there to help people who have pain as a result of conditions such as fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, musculoskeletal conditions and other chronic conditions.
Jill brings a wealth of experience with her.
She first joined the trust as a student nurse in 1991 and worked in orthopaedics for a short time when she qualified.
Then, she went on to spend a few years working in theatres and many years in day case theatres.
She later joined the pain team in 2003 as a specialist nurse caring for patients who had acute pain and chronic pain.
She said the role came about following some national guidance that was published.
It was called the NICE public health guidance 19, ‘Managing long term sickness and incapacity for work’
Jill added: “It is about supporting people to get back to work and supporting them to remain at work.
“I provide general medication advice, pain medication advice, maintain good communication with GPs, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which helps people with chronic pain and musculoskeletal conditions.”
But Jill’s help goes further.
She added: “I also provide advice and support for staff who have sleep problems, relaxation and difficulty dealing with and accepting their condition.”
And she is not finished with her plans to help other people.
She added: “I have much more planned for the future.”
It seems as if Jill’s influence is already making a difference at the Trust with plenty of feedback already coming in.
“It is fantastic to hear from staff who tell me that treatment or support has made such a difference to them. We are totally committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff. Their health and wellbeing is so important, that’s why we encourage them to take good care of themselves and do everything we can to support them.”