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Helen Biggs


Each and every day the Admissions Lounge at St James's sees dozens of patients prior to their operations. The unit plays a vital role in making sure checks are carried out on patients and they are ready for the procedure. The few hours prior to surgery can be a really nerve-racking experience for patients, regardless of the procedure they are about to undergo, so staff play a huge role in helping to settle nerves and support families.

Helen Biggs has been working at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust for eight years and is currently Sister for the Admissions Lounge.

"With such a high turnover of patients coming through the unit, there are never two days the same. This variety helps to make my role so interesting and worthwhile," Helen explained. "I feel really fortunate to work with such a great team here on the unit at Jimmy's. There is a wonderful, positive atmosphere that makes it a really great place to work."

"The unit only recently came into being and was formed from a couple of teams, so there have been lots of opportunities to work on service development. These opportunities to help the unit grow were partly the reason I took on the role," she explained. "My favourite elements of the role, however, are the opportunities for problem solving and helping patients receive the best possible care."

"In our unit we see lots of nervous patients and families, so it's vital that we help to put their minds at ease. A significant portion of my time is spent with relatives, answering questions and in certain cases keeping them updated about what's happening in theatre," she said. "As Sister, I help to keep the patient flow going ensuring that hold ups don't occur and people get to theatre in a timely fashion. It's really important to ensure that the patients who we see are going to the right place, for the right procedures at the right time."

"Keeping on top of things, good organisation and being able to pre-empt any potential problems is key to the role. For example, I always like to stay one step ahead and ensure notes are ready for the next day's operations," Helen explained. "I am also responsible for members of the team on the unit and while the Senior Sister isn't present, take charge. It's a lot of responsibility, but I enjoy the challenge!"