Jenny Oliver

Colposcopy Hysteroscopy Nursing Assistant

Women undergoing investigative medical tests of an intimate nature can be reassured that their dignity is one of the highest priorities for Nursing Assistant Jenny Oliver, who is based in the Colposcopy clinic at Sandwell Hospital.

Jenny (48, Sandwell) is a colposcopy hysteroscopy nursing assistant at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. She works as part of the team in the Colposcopy department which is where gynaecological problems are investigated. Many procedures require looking at the cervix or into the wombs to investigate gynaecological abnormalities. These are very sensitive and intimate procedures which need the staff conducting the tests to have the interpersonal skills to ensure patients feel comfortable.

Jenny explained: “My job is to stand by the patients when they go through the procedures and talk them through the whole process. We do not use an anaesthetic because by not using drugs, it helps patients recover more quickly and is safer for them in the long term.

“Because patients are conscious during the examination, they need to be relaxed. I like to consider that I am a natural anaesthetic or the ‘vocal local’. I always explain every step of what we are doing and why we are doing it. I also let the patients know how they might feel when we perform the procedure and reassure them that we are always there to help them. If they feel distressed, I will ask the team to stop until the patient feels better.

“As a woman myself, I understand how women feel when they have to go through these procedures so I do everything possible to protect their dignity, and I will hold their hand if they want me to.

“I love all the patients who come to our clinic and give everyone my full attention. It does not matter where they are from or what they do, I will always treat them with care and compassion. I always put myself in their shoes and try my best to calm them down. You cannot use one approach for everyone. Sometimes I have patients who have been sexually abused or FGM (Female genital mutilation) victims so it is very important to ensure that I can make them feel safe and calm.

“I also respect the religions and faith that our patients follow, and make sure that they feel comfortable with the process.

“I treat people the way I would treat my mother, as I witnessed my parents’ compassion from an early age. They were city councillors when I was a child, and I remember them working hard for people’s rights and benefits. My dad taught me many invaluable lessons and one of them is to respect people. No matter how rich or how poor you are, how you look or what you wear, we are all human beings and we all deserve respect.”

Jenny added: “I enjoy my job not just because I get to care for people but because my whole team has made the clinic such a wonderful place to work. The team has such a friendly culture and there is no hierarchy in the team. Everyone is willing to do the small tasks and there is no difference between us. Our team leaders pull us together and make us feel like a family. My colleagues always support me to do my job well and I am deeply grateful for that.”

Manager of the team, Tiffany Jones, said: “Jenny is an invaluable asset to the team. She started her career at the Trust in 1997 and worked with many acute teams, such as A&E, Intensive Care Unit and the Critical Care Unit so she has valuable skills that really help our clinic. She knows what to do without being asked and with her by your side, you have the absolute confidence to focus on your job.”

Jenny recently won the Compassion Award at SWBH for her excellent work in helping thousands of women feel comfortable when visiting the clinic, ensuring they feel confident undergoing treatment. Jenny said: “I was humbled to receive this award and thankful for the recognition that people gave to me. I just want to do my best to do the job well and make a difference to people.”

She added: “There is another achievement that I am particularly proud of which is in being a good parent and raising my daughter with my husband. Seeing her now working as a sister at one of the major hospitals in London makes me feel that all of the hard work is worthwhile. She means the world to me and I am lucky to have such a daughter who is so close to me. She is truly my biggest achievement in life.”