Having suffered the effects of sleep deprivation first hand after the birth of her first child, Janine Reynolds took the opportunity to combine her business degree and nursing skills. Along with colleagues at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust she set up a new nurse-led sleep service in 2009, which included carrying out diagnostic sleep studies. Here she shares her experiences as a clinical nurse specialist in the paediatric sleep disorders nursing team at Sheffield.
“I really fell in love with my role as a sleep nurse. I could listen and empathise with families at their most vulnerable time. I now offer tailored support unique to families, giving them the quality time that is needed. I love making a difference!
“One family told me that I have made a life changing difference to their quality of life. A single parent was struggling with sleep deprivation due to their child’s medical issues. They had neglected their own sleep in an attempt to keep the child safe. I listened and empathised as they told me the story of their medical journey. We then worked together to create a sleep intervention tailored to the child’s individual needs, which I supported whilst it was taking place. The parent now has their social life back and even has time for themself in the evenings. This has allowed them to plan a return to work with their degree in computing. The parent said: “I really did not realise how bad life was until I started getting sleep.”
“My role as a clinical sleep specialist includes running paediatric sleep clinics to deliver specialist sleep advice to educate and support parents/carers and children/young people as well as providing high quality evidence-based care to children/young people attending the Sheffield Children’s sleep disorders service. Over nine years I have had experience of setting up and monitoring more than 1,000 overnight sleep studies – roughly around 10 a month!
“In the background I am constantly researching as it plays an important role in underpinning my work. I’ve investigated into the prevalence of sleep apnoea in children with Down syndrome, medtech (oximetry design and sleep-related apps), melatonin use and an evaluation of the narcolepsy service.
“Since we started the behavioural advisory sleep clinic two years ago, we’ve seen a massive service expansion. It has gone from one nurse-led clinic a week, to seven nurse-led clinics a week, requiring 1.5 nurses and clerical support. The service started with two patients a week and now it is up to 15 patients a week. In addition to this is the growing narcolepsy service which started with four patients in 2013. We now have 41 patients on our case load, with a growing number being referred in, from all over the region – Stoke, Hull, York, Nottingham, Bolton and Manchester.
“We are victims of our own success and continue to see a rapid rise in referrals. Lack of sleep has a huge detrimental effect on the whole family in terms of their emotional, physical and mental well-being. The sleep service at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is making a real difference to many families.
“Our service offers the support and intervention that families need, ruling out medical reasons, and referring on if needed. It offers one-to-one support tailored to each family’s needs and provides ongoing support and intervention.”
For more information on the behavioral advisory sleep clinic or the narcolepsy service, contact:
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Paediatric Sleep Disorders Nursing Team
E61, Stephenson Wing
Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Secretaries: 0114 271 7400/7455