21 November 2014
We caught up with specialist maxillofacial and restorative nurse Charlotte Painter, from Chase Farm Hospital. Having filmed Charlotte for a recent video about the learning achievement awards we were keen to find out more about her work.
Charlotte's team is made up of around 70 people. It sees around 45,000 patients a year and deals with a variety of treatments of the head and neck. This can include anything from fixing someone's jaw to treating cancer. "We can deal with trauma, skin cancer (including skin grafts and flaps), dressings, head and neck cancer, biopsies, extractions and other forms of oral surgery; orthodontics and orthognathic surgery, restorative dentistry for head and neck cancer patients, thyroids; lumps and bumps; salivary glands; oral medicine and facial pain.”
We asked Charlotte why she chose to work in this area, and found out that she has family connections to Chase Farm Hospital and the department that go back several years. She said: “I’ve always had an interest in maxillofacial, orthodontics and restorative work, I find the area extremely interesting and varied. My mum recently retired and she worked in this department for many years, so I would pop in when I was a child. I started doing admin work here when I was 17 and I worked on and off while I was at university, so I’ve been around the department for most of my life.”
Charlotte then gave us an example of why she's proud of the work she does. “There was a patient I worked with who needed extensive surgery to restore her mouth as a result of cancer” said Charlotte. “She had reconstructive surgery and we were able to restore her dentition, which she was so pleased with. Unfortunately she had a severe reoccurrence of the cancer and had further extensive treatment. Consequently she had to attend the out-patient clinic on a very regular basis. Sadly, after another recurrence she passed away in the summer. Her family invited some of our team to her funeral and that meant a lot to us. It was very sad but I was so proud to have made a positive difference to her life whilst we cared for her.”
Charlotte is excited about the upcoming redevelopment to the Chase Farm Hospital site. “I think it’s really good to see that the trust wants the best for Chase Farm Hospital and what I’ve heard sounds very interesting,” she said. “It will be great to see some investment in the site. The hospital is very important to the community and it’s nice to know it has a bright future. It would be lovely if some of the original features can be maintained.”
We also asked Charlotte how she’d found working for the new trust over the last few months. “I’ve been impressed with how positive things have been since we became part of the new trust,” said Charlotte. “The energy and enthusiasm of the chief executive has been really refreshing. There seems to be a can-do attitude which is great. For a long time we were worried that the hospital might close but that’s not the case anymore. I’ve been a patient at Chase Farm Hospital and a lot of our facilities are really good. We deliver great care and that shows in the feedback we get from patients. It’s nice to see that is recognised by the new trust.”