Brighton hospital apprentice wins award for covid care

Posted On 19 Oct 2021 at 6:35 pm

An apprentice at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton has won an award for her work in improving care for patients with the coronavirus.

Meghann Creffield, 36, who works in the hospital’s pathology department, won the Outstanding Contribution by an Apprentice to an Employer, at the Brighton and Hove Apprenticeships Awards.

She has now been nominated for the national apprenticeship awards that will be decided at the end of the month.

As part of her degree apprenticeship, Ms Creffield, was tasked with designing an innovative project which would improve patient care.

The biomedical science degree apprenticeship graduate came up with a project on a substance which is made by our bodies called procalcitonin.

Her work had a direct effect on the treatment of patients with covid-19 as she helped to develop a blood test which helped clinicians to form their treatment plans.

Her award is part of a remarkable story for the 36-year-old, who lives in Kemp Town, just a short walk from the hospital where she works.

Just 10 years ago Ms Creffield was working shifts in a bar and bringing up two young children on her own – and working in a path lab helping develop treatments to fight a global pandemic wasn’t even a pipe dream.

She said: “Winning an award like this is very special and I am very, very proud. I’ve worked towards this for a very long time and it is a long way from where I was a few years back.

“I was working in a bar and bringing up my children. I never thought I would ever be able to do a degree and get to work in a place like this.

“As a young mother I was unable to undertake a more traditional degree route due to time and money constraints.

“Between my personal circumstances and a lack of confidence in myself, I presumed that a degree-level qualification was something I could never achieve.

“But once I arrived here, I began to believe in myself and built relationships with people within timeframes that I needed.

“I have been incredibly lucky to have started my working life in the scientific field as a medical laboratory assistant within Pathology at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and then to be selected for this pathway and, alongside raising my family and working, I was able to complete a foundation degree and an applied degree apprenticeship BSc (Bachelor of Science).”

Meghann Creffield

University Hospitals Sussex (UHSussex), the NHS trust that runs the Royal Sussex, said: “It was while studying for the degree that Meghann found out about the blood test that eventually came to help out covid patients in Sussex.”

Ms Creffield said: “I was burning the midnight oil again studying – it was right back at the start of the pandemic – and I was doing some reading and research to help with my dissertation.

“I found out that in Italy and China a procalcitonin blood test that I had been looking at for my study was used in monitoring how quickly covid patients were deteriorating and helping clinicians make treatment choices based on that.

“The next morning I couldn’t wait to tell colleagues at work. Based on the information I found, me and the rest of the lab team were able to get the test up and running in record time for the use of doctors here and at surrounding hospitals.”

She added: “I am very proud to realise I have helped people on the front line treat patients during this time.”

UHSussex senior biomedical scientist Anne Trezise is also a training officer and was Ms Creffield’s mentor throughout her apprenticeship degree.

She said: “I nominated Meghann for the award and have put her forward for the national one too. She deserves it.

“Her application and her commitment to the course meant that she was able to come to the team with this innovative idea.

“It worked and this has meant an improved service for patients, which is excellent news for everyone.

“The apprenticeship degree has suited Meghann’s work-life balance. Our apprentices are in it for the long haul. They develop while they are here, they qualify and can hit the ground running once they start.

“There are clear career pathways and once people graduate we can take them on in environments they are already comfortable in.

“Meghann gained a promotion once she qualified and I know she feels she can achieve her ambitions here at UHSussex – and she can.”

  1. Ross Harper Reply

    Congratulations! A fantastic story!

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