What is your current role and what do you enjoy about it?
I’m a senior content editor at Versus Arthritis.
I enjoy many aspects of my job – working with teammates, researching at the start of a new topic, the actual process of editing a document, but I think the highlight is getting out and about meeting people with arthritis and related conditions.
It’s always rewarding and useful talking to the people who are living what we’re writing about.
When people are willing to share their story, essentially baring their soul, it’s a real privilege to meet them.
It never ceases to amaze me when people going through a really tough time are so keen to help others in a similar situation.
People with arthritis seem to want to do this in their droves. It’s a very supportive community.
What is the key area you are working on at the moment?
A project to improve our information for young people with arthritis.
What’s your biggest health information challenge?
How to do meaningful and effective co-creation, in this case for young people.
How can PIF members help you meet that challenge?
It would be great to talk with anyone who has done co-creation of health information, particularly with young people.
I’d also like to hear of any creative agencies PIF members would recommend who are good at working with young people.
What’s the best thing about working in health information?
Knowing that when we get it right, we can really help people understand their condition, treatment options and what they can do to help themselves.
Having that knowledge and understanding is crucial to enable anyone to manage a long-term health condition well. To play a small part in that can be a very nice feeling.
It’s not an easy job at times, because as everyone working in this field knows, obstacles and constraints do crop up.
But it’s worth the perseverance, determination and teamwork to be able to make a difference to people’s lives.
Why did you join PIF?
From reading the emails and looking at the website, it was clear that there was so much about being a member of PIF that would be interesting and make my working life easier!
The events that PIF had coming up looked very relevant to what we do. The website was packed with useful articles and reference documents. It seemed silly not to join!
What do you find useful about being a PIF member?
Access to colleagues at various health charities facing similar issues, who have tips to share as a result of walking down the same paths.
What top tip do you have to share on health information?
Meet members of the target audience at the start of a project to get a real understanding of what people are going through.
Getting that context and hearing it in people’s own words first-hand can be invaluable.
I find that it helps to meet people with arthritis in their own environment and spend a good amount of time with them.
This helps people relax, open up and can lead to really strong relationships.
What was your lightbulb moment in health information?
Meeting someone called Mel who had really bad osteoarthritis in her knees and hands, which meant that tasks such as climbing stairs, unlocking a door, and opening a bottle of water, were at times simply impossible.
She was depressed and really struggling.
Mel got the necessary information and hired a personal trainer at her local gym. She worked hard in the gym and adopted a very healthy lifestyle.
She completely turned her condition around and turned a negative into a positive. She is happier, healthier and more confident than ever before.
The nature of her condition meant that she didn’t need to have any medication and could make tremendous progress with exercise and lifestyle changes.
But it showed the power and effectiveness of someone understanding their condition, knowing what they should do, being positive, getting the necessary support and working hard.