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Staff spotlight: senior nursery manager

Anna Rixon

Anna is the senior nursery manager for Taplins childcare, overseeing the Trust’s 80-place nursery at the Western Hospital and 53-place nursery at Southampton General Hospital.

‘Part of my role is looking after the Taplins department, checking and updating policies and overseeing the childcare advisory team, which helps with maternity issues and vouchers. I also managed the Piggles Project, where we sent hospital staff to work with preschool age children on the wards. We were the first hospital in the country to have a scheme like that!

‘We started work with Piggles back in December 2017. The project was set up by the family of a little girl called Harriet who sadly passed away. Her parents wanted to do something in her memory – they noticed that while Harriet was an inpatient on the cardiac ward, sometimes she was well enough to have taken part in nursery activities, but there was nothing available at that time for a child her age. Piggles approached Taplins and asked if they could fund a nursery nurse who could work with children on the wards.

‘The best thing about my job is working with the children; they’re so funny and they say the most unique things. Seeing the progression of so many children – from the age of a few months old until they start to go to school – is amazing. I love seeing staff develop here as well. Watching someone who didn’t have a huge amount of experience when they started gain confidence as they progress is really rewarding to me.

‘Sometimes it’s a challenge – there are lots of different roles involved in my job – so I need to make sure I give myself enough time to complete all the tasks I’m working on. Undertaking the Piggles project was a particularly ambitious step; no one had ever done it before, so there wasn’t a framework to go by. We created  all the planning, documentation, policy-making and designing new methods of working from scratch, which was definitely a challenge!

‘I really enjoy working at University Hospital Southampton – our workforce is very well supported, with lots of opportunities for training development available. Several of our staff have been to university and completed degrees while working part-time, with the support of managers and colleagues. We always get amazing feedback from parents on the quality of care and how much the children enjoy it here, which is always the most important thing to us!’