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Heroes of the RUH – Jo Hodson

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Meet Jo Hodson, Neonatal Service Lead at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

“My Mum was a nurse and I’ve really enjoyed following in her footsteps. I’ve worked in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 30 years. 

I am a Consultant Neonatal Nurse, the only Consultant Nurse in the Trust. But whilst I’m the Neonatal Service Lead, I don’t make all the decisions. We are a team and we learn together.  

My career started in 1990 as a Neonatal Nurse, I became an Advance Nurse Practitioner in 2005, and since then have been an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (ANNP). I decided I wanted to do less clinical work and took on more managerial responsibilities. In many ways, I have developed my own role including the Consultant Nurse pathway and I am working with colleagues to make this pathway open for other specialties. 

“The youngest baby I have looked after was born 17 weeks early and we look after around 600 babies a year. My team and I enjoy getting to know the families and most of all seeing the babies grow, get better and go home to be with their own family.

“We are grateful to the people in our community and our charity who fundraised for NICU. It is an amazing building that’s next to Princess Anne Wing When parents come into NICU to see their babies they can’t believe how amazing it is inside in terms of how much space there is and how quiet it is. 

“The environment in which we work in does make a difference to the staff too. In the old unit you couldn’t have more than two people in some of the rooms and when you walked past someone you brushed past each other. However this building really does meet our patients and their families’ needs and has made a big difference, especially this year.

“When it all started to change this year because of COVID-19 we didn’t see much of an impact. In fact, we didn’t have as many babies on the unit. No one can be sure why, but it could be that mothers were staying in more rather than rushing about as part of daily life.

“Since the beginning of COVID-19 there has been a lot of policy changes to deal with including visiting restrictions. It has been really hard for us, our patients and their families but we are lucky to have the Dyson Centre for Neonatal Care. (Please visit ruh.nhs.uk for the latest information about visiting).

“I have really missed the spontaneity of normal life. I usually love the gym but can still cycle with a friend. I also love dog walking, our four-year-old cocker-poo completely rules the house.

“Christmas to me means being together, laughing, eating and drinking and enjoying the presents. I am most looking forward to quality time with my family.”

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