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Challenges are faced every day.

NAME: Liz Stokle AGE: 51 JOB TITLE: Senior Health Protection Nurse WHERE DO YOU WORK? Health Protection Agency North East, Citygate, Newcastle WHAT DOES YOUR JOB INVOLVE? Working with a brilliant team of doctors, nurse practitioners and support staff investigating infectious diseases and environmental hazards that may pose a threat to the health of the North East population. On any one day my work may include investigating a large outbreak of food poisoning or looking into a cluster of meningitis. On another day we may be working with other hazards such as exposure to chemicals which may have contaminated the environment. We work hard to prevent and minimise any health effects on the public and to stop it happening again. My job also includes responsibility for Healthcare Associated Infections and I am the child health programme lead for the Health Protection Agency in the region. I spend a lot of my time working with colleagues in the NHS, both with hospitals and primary care trusts.

Multi-agency working is a great but challenging part of the job.

Over the last few years, I have seen a big change for the better in the willingness of agencies to work together, barriers have come down and there is a great passion in individuals and organisations to work together to get it right.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES YOU NEED FOR THIS TYPE OF WORK? Curiosity and persistence! Getting to the bottom of a situation can sometimes be complex and challenging.

Empathy is very important while maintaining the ability to be objective and a little detached.

No-one wants to be confronted with an emotional nurse when dealing with a distressing situation - they need someone to make accurate and safe decisions to protect them and their loved ones.

Finally, the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment is essential.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS PROFESSION? Seventeen years in health protection.

WHERE DID YOU TRAIN AND WHAT DID THAT TRAINING INVOLVE? I trained as a general nurse in Hartlepool in the 70s, then trained and worked as a midwife for 10 years. I also worked as a Health Promotion Officer in Hartlepool for two years. In 1994, having moved to Newcastle, I began working in the field of Health Protection.

As well as training on the job, I completed my MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2003.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS JOB? It looked exciting and challenging - everyone likes a challenge! WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT IT? The variety - no two days (or is it two hours?!) are the same.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE LEAST ABOUT IT? The distress I see in those affected by a life-threatening disease or hazard. WHAT''S YOUR FAVOURITE FILM AND BOOK? Film: Mamma Mia is great fun and having a daughter in her early 20s, I weep buckets every time I watch it.

Book: Pride and Prejudice is my alltime favourite.

WHAT''S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD? Chilli-con-carne with a nice glass of wine.

HOW WOULD YOU SPEND pounds 1M? Retire to write novels, build my own home and give the rest to charity.


NEVER THE SAME Liz Stokle enjoys the fact that every day is different
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2011
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