North Lincolnshire health visitor up for national recognition

Health visitor Ruth Chittenden.
Health visitor Ruth Chittenden.

A health visitor is up for a national award in recognition of her work with newborn babies.

Ruth Chittenden (pictured), manager of the newborn hearing screening programme in North Lincolnshire, is a finalist in the CPHVA (Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, part of the Unite union) 2015 awards.

In addition to her management role Ruth still works part time as a health visitor on the relief team in Scunthorpe.

She’ll be heading to London this week to find out if she’s won the team leader/manager of the year award category.

The award recognises those who provide outstanding care within their practice setting and have an ability to be an advocate and professional role model.

The newborn screening programme in North Lincolnshire was set up 11 years ago and since then more than 20,000 babies have had their hearing screened.

A team of health visitors and community nurses screen babies at home around 10 to14 days after they are born. This involves placing a small soft earpiece into ear which produces a soft clicking sound. This sound travels down the hearing pathway to the inner ear where hair-like structures make a sound in response. This is called a clear response and tells us that the hearing pathway is working properly. Some babies require a further hearing screen at home and will go on to require further investigation. Approximately three per cent of babies go on to need further screening and audiological assessment.

Ruth said: “We offer a high quality service that meets and exceeds the national standards for the programme. It is also a very family friendly service as it is delivered by specially trained heath visitors and community screeners in the client’s home, and also by skilled screeners on the neonatal unit at Scunthorpe hospital. Good practice and clear communication, along with effective support and management strategies are key principles for any programme to be successful. I feel very proud that the achievements of the hearing screening programme in North Lincolnshire are being recognised with this nomination.”