Mayor ‘scrubs up’ for new role
PETERBOROUGH’S first citizen swapped Mayoral robes for medical scrubs for a day in the life of a paediatric nurse.
Mayor of Peterborough Cllr Paula Thacker cleared her busy schedule of civic appointments yesterday to spend the day with staff and the young patients on Peterborough City Hospital’s Amazon ward.
It followed an auction in support of the Family Voice Peterborough charity last month, for which Cllr Thacker - vice chairman of the good cause - donated her services as one of 22 money-can’t-buy experiences.
Staff from the children’s ward were the highest bidder at £100.
The Werrington South ward member said she had been “delighted” to have been “bought” by the Amazon ward, saying at one time she feared she may spend the day washing cars.
Deputy sister on the ward Liz Power (42) explained the motivation behind the bid.
She said: “We just thought it was great idea for her to come and see what we do on a daily basis.
“I think people think we have a lot of fun and play all the day with a bit of medicine in between. We just thought it would a really good idea for her to see how a busy paediatric ward runs and the challenges we face on a daily basis.”
Arriving to begin work at 9am, Cllr Thacker donned nursing scrubs, or ‘blues’, to donate her services until 5pm, though not before removing her chains of office.
She said: “I did come in with my chains but now I’m in ‘blues’, and you would not know who I am.
“One of the sisters came up to one of the nurses and said ‘I thought we were having the mayor this morning’. I said ‘I’m here’. She said ‘You fit in, I did not recognise you’.”
Chief among Cllr Thacker’s work yesterday was supporting the young patients and their families - and not just those being treated on the wards.
She spoke with children during their journeys to and from theatre, ahead of them going under anaesthetic and provided a listening ear, and even a hug, for parents while the procedures took place.
In addition to the Amazon ward, she also made visits to the Rainforest Outpatients Department and the Jungle Assessment Unit, linked to the hospital’s Emergency Department.
She said it had been an enjoyable, if at times challenging, experience, admitting she had shed “a few tears”.
She said: “I’m loving it. Although sometimes when you know the children are really poorly it’s upsetting.
“It’s been very, very interesting. I’m really pleased they bid for me. I think I will give them their money back so they can spend it on something they need because they want lots of equipment.”
And Mrs Power was quick to give Cllr Thacker a glowing reference.
She said: “It’s been lovely to have her with us. She’s really engaged with the children beautifully.”
LEARNING THE ROPES: City Mayor Paula Thacker with ward manager Jayne Rootham. (METP-04-05-12PF401) AMAZON WOMAN: City Mayor Paula Thacker (left), spends a day at Peterborough City Hospital on Amazon Ward – pictured with, left, ward manager Jayne Rootham, Sarah Andrews, and patient Jamie Andrews, (6).