The young people who took over Great Ormond Street Hospital

Last week, a handful of young people picked up the reins at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), trying out jobs in healthcare during Takeover Challenge 2017.

Over five days, young people experienced first-hand what life in the labs, floor Management, and GOSH Arts was like – finding out what makes GOSH tick in the process.

Hannah, the sister of a GOSH patient, worked in the Immunology lab. “I had a fantastic time!” she says. “It gave me a great insight into Great Ormond Street Hospital’s immunology work and research facilities.

"Everyone at Great Ormond Street was kind and inspirational. It is amazing that they happily share their skills with the younger generation.

“I particularly enjoyed studying the ways that immunology conditions can be discovered, and the way they affect your body. I would love to do what the immunology team do, as their jobs have a perfect balance between helping people and learning new things.”

Walking the walk

Ethan, who shadowed Michael Glynn, a GOSH Floor Manager during Takeover Challenge really enjoyed hearing his insights into the hospital.

“Walking around with Michael, hearing all the facts that he has to say about the hospital was really, really interesting.”

Michael walks up to 29,000 steps (13.7 miles) a day! As well as having good stamina, he says a Floor Manager must be customer-focused and have a nice smile.

The Floor Manager is the formal link between clinical and non-clinical work in the hospital. “We are the people who unblock issues,” says Michael.

For Michael, Takeover Challenge was really important. “It shows young people an opening into industries, that they never get offered, it’s not like going into an office or the post room. It actually gives a grounding into the NHS.”

Cutting edge of science

Principal Clinical Scientist in Haematology, Stuart Adams also loaned out his job for Takeover Challenge last week. His work involves extracting DNA and carrying out genetic fingerprinting to help diagnose patients with diseases of the blood.

Stuart, who once played in the same football team as David Beckham (“No, not Manchester United!”) says he wanted to take part in Takeover Day because it was a good learning opportunity for him! “Young people have refreshing ideas and new ways of looking at things,” he says.

Scientists are often hidden in the background says Stuart, and Takeover Challenge was a great opportunity for them to meet patients and vice versa.

Costa who used to be a patient and took over Stuarts Job with another young boy, describes his Takeover experience of Haematology as “exciting and cool”.

He loved the opportunity to use all the equipment. “You see this all on TV, but to use pipettes and drawing cells and genes and then putting them into machines is great.

“Even though it's just moving liquid from one place to the other, you have to be quite intricate with getting the correct amount.”

The hardest thing, he says, was remembering all the jargon. “There are a lot of different terms for cells or techniques to remember. That hurt my brain a bit!”

GOSH is always looking for the next generation of scientists, and last week was a great opportunity to see what talent was out there. “We need those children to see what we do and decide this is what they want to do when they grow up. If we don’t get children thinking that now, who’s going to make the next big discovery?”

Teaching the nurses

Emma taking part in a mock interview during takeover

Meanwhile, Emma, who took over the teaching of nurses, loved the variety of her working day.

“First of all I got to sit in the newly qualified nurses meeting which was really cool. Then I learned how the Learning and Development team use different styles of learning to teach the staff. Before lunch I sat in on the staff meeting with the Chief Executive, and in the afternoon, I learnt about a new leadership project.”

Emma says she didn’t have a clue how many people were involved in running GOSH. “Getting to see how many people work behind the scenes to keep the hospital running was amazing.”

Art at the heart

Caroline Moore, Arts Officer at GOSH Arts – the arts programme at GOSH – manages the hospital’s creative research projects and artist residences. She says Takeover Challenge was a brilliant opportunity to show young people the many different ways arts can be used in the work place.

Faiza, Chair of GOSH Young People’s Forum took over from Caroline and ran a workshop in outpatients! She also took over the GOSH Arts social media, updating everybody on what they have been up to during her Takeover Challenge with GOSH Arts.

Caroline Moore says she took part in Takeover Challenge because it’s great fun. “We actually surrender all control to the young person for the day. We’ll help them if they need it, but we’re not going to stop them from trying things out – it’s their show.”