Member Spotlight – Faith Walkwell, Social Prescribing Link Worker

Member Spotlight – Faith Walkwell

Meet Faith, Social Prescribing Link Worker at Claypath and University PCN.

Please summarise your role responsibilities

My role as a social prescriber link worker is to empower patients to take control of their health and well-being and to help link socially isolated and vulnerable patients to sources of support in the community. As I’m directly employed by the PCN, I also designed and developed the service from launch in March 2020 until now, taking responsibility for day to day documentation, procedures and service promotion.

What is your most significant accomplishment in your role?

I think the most significant accomplishment in my role is getting to 1 year post launch, with a fully functioning social prescribing link worker service operating at my PCN that didn’t previously exist. I’m immensely grateful to the trust that was placed in me by my administrative and clinical colleagues, and by patients themselves in engaging with the service. I feel that the outcomes patients have been able to achieve through the links created with community support, health and social care services have been a real testament to the need for the link working model to be fully embedded into primary care.

What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing?

The biggest challenge I am currently facing is supporting patients as the lockdown eases. We are seeing rapid changes in what is available in terms of support, and whilst there is a lot of positivity about lockdown easing there is trepidation too. Where this is challenge there is also opportunity, and I think this represents an incredible chance to show what link working can do to support people as we work with our patients/clients to on their journey back into something close to normality.

Do you have any words of wisdom for Social Prescribing Link Workers and/or Social Prescribing Programmes?

Keep connected! As link workers we need to proactively work on our networks to be best placed to inform and serve those we work with. Variety is the key word in this job, and keeping abreast of support options enables you to work within a ‘what matters to me’ framework by being able to tailor the support options so they’re as close a fit as possible to your patient or client’s need. Networking also works the other way, so sounding your own trumpet about your service and the work being done builds trust, develops your professional reputation, and raises the profile of link working to (I truly believe) the benefit of everyone.

What do you do for fun when not working?

When I’m not working I enjoy spending quality family time, I have two lively young children who keep me on my toes and love to burst my bubble by proving I’m not so smart as I think I am! I like to find a bit of peace daily by meditating and practicing yoga, and I seek out inspirational and positive thinking books and podcasts. For an adrenaline rush, I love running right into the freezing cold North Sea for a refreshing swim, preferably just as the sun rises over the water, it’s the best possible start to the day!

How does National Association of Link Workers add value to Social Prescribing and Link Workers?

I’ve been a member of National Association of Link Workers since I started in role. I feel that the strength of NALW is through uniting link workers around a common Code of Practice and set of professional expectations for what is expected of us, and of those who employ us. When I attend NALW peer networking events, conferences and training I feel a shared professional identity with my colleagues across the country, but at the same time we all collectively benefit from a forum to share the huge variety of knowledge and experience we bring from the many settings and environments in which link workers practice.

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