Ella Hewton from Bupa Bristol Health Clinic shares a typical day in her role as Health Adviser and how she practices what she preaches.
5:30am: Wakeup call
I start most days with 10 minutes of meditation before showering and getting my breakfast. I have oats every weekday morning with different additions, plus a pint of water. Today it’s coconut yoghurt with rhubarb, almonds and chia seeds.
6:30am: Daily commute
I walk to the train station to catch the 6:50am train and get into Bristol at 7:25am. I walk to the Bupa Bristol Health Clinic, arriving at 7.45am ready to get my uniform on and set up for the day ahead.
8:00am: Lab set up
We take it in turns to open and close the lab each day. The open involves getting the blood testing equipment set up; running the Quality Control processes, setting up the Peak Lab (the fitness assessment room), checking the previous day’s lab sheet and ensuring all the doctor’s rooms are stocked.
9:00am: First Health Assessment of the day
We conduct a variety of different Health Assessments which vary in length and scope from Female Health which is an hour in total, all the way up to the Peak Health Assessment which lasts 150 minutes. Depending on the schedule I could have three to seven assessments in a day.
Today’s first is a Peak. I start with body measurements; height, weight, waist circumference and then, on the bed, test body composition – how much of the weight is fat versus lean weight. Next is blood pressure, followed by an ECG, and taking a blood sample. Whilst I’m performing these tests we discuss areas of the client’s lifestyle and how these can affect the measurements. For example, when discussing blood pressure I may ask about activity levels or alcohol, salt and caffeine consumption.
I pop the blood and a urine sample to the lab for testing and then it’s time for either the Musculoskeletal Assessment – looking at mobility, strength and balance, or a Hearing Test; it’s the customer’s choice. Today my customer chose the MSK Assessment. We provide exercise advice based on the results to help with anything that crops up.
Finally, we sit down and discuss all of the results. It’s a chance to get into the detail of the numbers, identify any risk areas and see if there have been any changes since her last visit, as well as discuss lifestyle and motivation. We’re trained in behaviour change and it’s great when a customer feels empowered to make a positive change to their lifestyle. I’ll coach them and phone them twice over the course of the next 12 weeks for support.
I go to the doctor, today it’s Dr Tim Monelle and handover all the details about the customer – concerns she might want to address, a summary of my findings and what we have discussed.
10:45am: Time to get active
My customer has now finished with the doctor having had a full health screen and the opportunity to seek advice about any medical concerns. Dr Monelle tells me she’s all good for the fitness assessment. Here I carry out grip strength, lung function and a sub maximal, aerobic capacity test. This gives us information about the customer’s level of cardiovascular fitness and health. After the tests are complete we discuss the findings and their implications - breaking down aspects of heart, lung and metabolic efficiency during exercise.
11:30am: We’re all done
We end with a summary of her experience and what she’ll be taking away – particularly specific goals.
Throughout the day I have a few more customers. I enjoy the fact that everyone is different and although the basic structure of the Health Assessment is the same, they can take different paths led by the customer’s interests. It’s also fantastic when you see someone you’ve seen before and they’ve made positive lifestyle changes which show up in their results.
12:00pm: Lunch time
My favourite part of the day! I usually have leftovers from the night before or some type of salad I’ve put together. Occasionally I’ll pop into Cabot Circus across the road to buy something. Today is spinach, tomatoes, avocado, a mixed vegetable quinoa and a carrot and beetroot salad with sesame seeds.
2pm: Lifestyle Coaching
I spend an hour on lifestyle coaching calls, following up with customers who have had a Health Assessment and have chosen to receive a call. We know that people are much more likely to hit targets and stick to plans when supported. You don’t see athletes without a coach so how can we expect to be at our best without that extra support.
3:30pm: Shut down
Closing the lab involves cleaning all the equipment, shutting down the Peak Lab and most importantly running the Lab Sheet to pack up and send all the tests from the day that we can’t test onsite to our central lab.
4:30pm: Home time
This usually involves me running back to the station to catch my train. I usually get home around 5.30pm, and in the evening I either see friends or family or do some form of activity; running, gym or yoga. This evening I have football training from 6-7pm.
7:30pm: Dinner time
I take it in turns to cook with my housemate which is great! This evening we have a roasted aubergine dahl with naan followed by a baked apple from my parent’s apple tree. It’s really important to me to eat well because I feel better for it and part of being a Health Adviser is practicing what you preach.
9pm: Wind down
I’m starting to get ready for bed by this point and winding down. I’ll sometimes read a book and often do 10 minutes of mindful meditation before getting into bed just to calm my mind from the day.
Getting up early means I have to get to bed early too!