An apprentice at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Trust has won a prestigious award for work she did that had a direct impact on the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
Meghann Creffield recently won the Outstanding Contribution by an Apprentice to an Employer, at the Brighton and Hove Apprenticeships Awards, after being nominated by the Royal Sussex County Hospital pathology department where she works.
She has now been nominated for the national apprenticeship awards that will be decided at the end of the month.
As part of her degree apprenticeship, the biomedical Science Degree Apprenticeship graduate was tasked with designing an innovative project which would improve patient care.
Meghann’s project on procalcitonin had a direct impact on the treatment of patients with COVID-19, by developing a blood test that helped clinicians to form their treatment plans.
The recognition is part of a remarkable story for the 36 year old, who lives in Kemptown, just a short walk from the hospital where she works.
Just ten years ago Meghann was working shifts in a bar and bringing up two young children on her own, working in a path lab helping develop treatments to fight a global pandemic wasn’t even a pipe dream.
Meghan said: “Winning an award like this is very special and I am very, very proud. I’ve worked towards this for a very long time and it is a long way from where I was a few years back.
“I was working in a bar and bringing up my children. I never thought I would ever be able to do a degree and get to work in a place like this.
“As a young mother I was unable to undertake a more traditional degree route due to time and money constraints. Between my personal circumstances and a lack of confidence in myself, I presumed that a degree level qualification was something I could never achieve.
“But once I arrived here I began to believe in myself and built relationships with people within time frames that I needed. I have been incredibly lucky to have started my working life in the scientific field as a Medical Laboratory Assistant within Pathology at the Royal Sussex County Hospital and then to be selected for this pathway and, alongside raising my family and working, I was able to complete a Foundation degree and an applied degree apprenticeship BSc.”
It was while studying for the degree that Meghann found out about the blood test that eventually came to help out Covid patients in Sussex.
She added: “I was burning the midnight oil again studying – it was right back at the start of the pandemic – and I was doing some reading and research to help with my dissertation.
“I found out that in Italy and China a procalcitonin blood test that I had been looking at for my study was used in monitoring how quickly Covid patients were deteriorating and helping clinicians make treatment choices based on that.
“The next morning I couldn’t wait to tell colleagues at work. Based on the information I found me and the rest of the lab team were able to get the test up and running in record time for the use of doctors here and at surrounding hospitals.”
Meghann added: “I am very proud to realise I have helped people on the front line treat patients during this time.”
Anne Trezise, Senior Biomedical Scientist at UHSussex, is also a training officer and mentor to Meghann throughout her apprenticeship degree. She said: “I nominated Meghann for the award and have put her forward for the national one too. She deserves it.
“Her application and her commitment to the course meant that she was able to come to the team with this innovative idea. It worked and this has meant an improved service for patients, which is excellent news for everyone.
“The apprenticeship degree has suited Meghann’s work life balance. Our apprentices are in it for the long haul. They develop while they are here, they qualify and can hit the ground running once they start.
“There are clear career pathways and once people graduate we can take them on in environments they are already comfortable in. Meghann gained a promotion once she qualified and I know she feels she can achieve her ambitions here at UHSussex – and she can.”