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Heroes of the RUH – Maria Brinkworth

Meet Maria Brinkworth, Cleaner on Haygarth Ward at the Royal United Hospitals Bath.

Maria, a mum of two teenage boys who works as one of the most fundamental cogs to the smooth running of the hospital – a full time cleaner on Haygarth ward.

“Every day is a challenge, working as a cleaner at the RUH, Haygarth is very busy ward and no two days are the same but that is what I like about it.  I take each day as it comes and go with the flow.” 

“It has been hard at work since the start of the pandemic. The job has got more time consuming.  At breakfast time, there always needs to be two of us to avoid cross contamination. We are washing our hands constantly, wearing gloves, changing PPE, – though it does all became second nature once you have done it a few times.   

Together we work great as a team, and I have certainly made some friends for life whilst working here. 

Some days our patients might only see me for a chat. I like to spend time in the side rooms with our most poorly patients, chatting to them so they know that they are still a person, and not just a number. What I love about being a cleaner is I can give that little bit of extra to our patients. I even have a pot of nail varnish in my cupboard.  If a patient is really sad, I might paint their nails to help cheer them up – if I have time of course!” 

I used to work as a Dementia Support worker, but two years ago I moved to the RUH and started cleaning.  Before that I was a stay at home mum – I have two boys.  My eldest son has a rare bone disease, and my youngest has ADHD. So life can be quite mentally draining at times.  When I started at the RUH, I was going to be an HCA, but then I got quite comfortable doing what I am doing with the cleaning.  I have found my balance in life and that is why I am so happy. 

I love Christmas – the lights, the trees, and I am working on Christmas Day this year. My teenage boys are growing up, so probably won’t get out of bed until I get home!  So this year I thought I am needed elsewhere’