Staff Choice Awards 2018/19
Unsung Hero Award (Clinical)

Sunny Smith

Has been shortlisted for this award

Job title
Occupational Therapist 
Children, Families and Young People’s Services 
Central Norfolk 

The nomination said...

Sunny has been a band 5 Occupational Therapist for three years in a mental health setting and during this time she has continued to grow and develop as a practitioner. She has an infectious, caring attitude and is an energetic individual.

Sunny is friendly and welcoming and demonstrates that she values everyone by always giving her time to support or advise colleagues or service users.

In relation to clinical practice, she has been informally supervising Assistant Practitioners across both locality teams within the Central Youth Service. This has included supervising their work and encouraging Service Users and team members to achieve their goals together. Sunny holds her own caseload but will also ensure that OT assessments are carried out for all clients who are in need of them. It is Sunny’s view that all young people under the Youth Service should have access to an OT assessment when entering mental health services to enable a clear understanding of need and treatment planning.

Sunny routinely supports the wider team by providing an occupational therapy perspective and generates discussion around alternative ways to support young people. She is currently studying for an MSc in Sensory Integration Therapy. Sunny had to demonstrate how Sensory Integration Therapy would benefit the care delivery within the Youth Service as it was not recognised as an intervention for young people over the age of 14yrs. Sunny was able to provide evidence of the benefits that it would mean towards assessment and treatment and how it could be delivered through the role of the Occupational Therapist.

Sunny is nearing the end of her training and is able to combine Sensory Profiling into her treatment delivery. Sunny is also co-working with her colleagues to enable them to create this Profiling with other clients. Within the Youth Service there are a high number of clients who have a diagnosis of ASD who struggle in social situations, often due to noise levels, their surroundings etc. Sunny has proved to the service that Sensory Profiling can help staff, clients and their families understand some of the difficulties they face day-to-day and how to manage them to reduce symptoms and move towards recovery.

She is passionate about the role of the Occupational Therapist with mental health services and this underpins her whole approach and ethos to practice. This is also clear with Sunny’s creative behaviour management with the young people she works with. Sunny will always stay late to help her colleagues with difficult and complex cases and will explore the difficulties with an OT approach, this allows for an holistic approach and again showcases Sunny’s creative way of working, but also shows her support to her team members.

She is a valued team member who is able to ‘think out of the box’ in relation to planning care and goal setting. She is also able to link in with external organisations both voluntary, private and statutory ensuring that work is completed collaboratively in order to ensure that high quality care is given to the young person as well as their families or care givers.

Sunny takes great pride in her role and has the ability to influence others positively. This is clear when supporting staff and her encouragement around staff wellbeing. Sunny is also helping to develop a staff sensory room which will encourage staff to take breaks within their working day and supporting staff with their wellbeing.

She has now been appointed a band 6 OT and we feel her knowledge, care and passion towards not only the young people she works with, but also her colleagues will be invaluable to the Central Norfolk Youth Service.