Claire Campbell, Neonatal Sister, RVI Hospital. Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week Spokeswoman

I’m a proud mum of three amazing children, and I trained as a registered general nurse in 1985.

At the start of my career I was on the Acute Surgical Ward and Emergency Admissions at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle until 1989 when I trained to be a midwife.

I have worked on the neonatal unit at the RVI since 1991 and I’m now a Sister on the Unit. My role is very vast, on top of caring for babies and families, I also manage, do clinical work such as research, and I mentor both nursing students and new members of staff.

I am absolutely passionate about defending and promoting the rights of the neonate and the wider family.

I have a particular interest in emotional support and promoting mental health and wellbeing.

Around 7 years ago I set up and implemented the Buddy System. This resource provides peer support for families that are experiencing life in and after the NICU. Their journey is very unique yet similarly shared by many others.

The group allows parents to interact and support each other through social media (On the group I set up for the RVI, there’s over 650 members of the closed group currently) and facilitating face to face dialogue. The group meets once a month and has been running successfully, with many parents making friends for life. I am proud to say the model has been used nationally in NICUs around the country.

In 2015 I won Patient Champion Of The Year and went on to win Neonatal Nurse Of The Year in 2016. I was a finalist with seven other nurses Nationwide for the Nursing Times, Nurse Of The Year Award in 2015

I have previously been a Trustee for the Tiny Lives Trust which does amazing work supporting the RVI in Newcastle.

I love to do fundraising and volunteer for smaller, less well-known charities also. Every year I volunteer with HCPT charity as the team nurse on an Easter Pilgrimage to Lourdes. We care for disadvantaged and disabled children. This is a life changing and humbling time for me as I learn and gain so much from the children. Their courage and strength is inspirational.

I was a research nurse on the Loss In Multiple Pregnancies Study, now known as The Butterfly Project, which has several published articles and lead to amazing positive changes in medical and nursing practices. I am the Staff Council Representative for Neonatal Nurses and I was involved in the making Best beginnings “Small Wonders” resource for families and the Bliss Baby Charter.

Most recently I have co – authored a Neonatal Palliative Care handbook for nurses with Alex Mancini.

Facts & Figures

79% of parents said a neonatal stay affected their mental health

Leo’s saw a 337% increase in need due to COVID-19

Did you know, reading to your baby in the NICU helps their development?

Leo's Neonatal

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