At Neurocare, we love hearing about the different roles that make up the incredible neuroscience services at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

Janet Pearson is a Highly Specialist Clinical Neurophysiologist and Epilepsy Surgery Co-Ordinator at the Department of Neurophysiology at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

On Monday 26th July 2021, Janet will be celebrating her 50th work anniversary, so we wanted to show our appreciation for everything she has done and continues to do for patients over the last five decades.

What do you like doing outside of work?

“Family is very important to me and I spend a lot of quality time with my own two children and three grandchildren. I am semi-retired but school runs keep me busy on my non-working days.

“My sister and I spend many hours walking through the lovely English countryside, swimming and going to the gym. This has helped tremendously over the last year during lockdown, but also my husband of 45 years sadly passed away suddenly leaving a huge void in my life.”

How did you get into your role?

“It’s hard to believe that when I left school, I didn’t think I had the constitution to become a nurse. I applied for a job in what I thought was a laboratory.

“Little did I know that my chosen career pathway would take me to many high intensity clinical areas e.g. ITU, SCBU and theatre, caring directly for patients.

“Initially, I worked at Sheffield Royal Infirmary with two other staff and one Consultant. I worked my way through the ranks, including alternating at satellite departments at the Royal Hospital Annexe, Lodge Moor Hospital and Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

“Twenty years ago, an Epilepsy Surgery Programme was set up within the department at the Royal Hallamshire working closely with Neurology and Neurosurgery. To my delight, I became the co-ordinator for the programme, performing both clinical and administrative work. I am part of a brilliant and dedicated team working hard to improve the lives of people with intractable epilepsy.”

Intractable Epilepsy is when a patient’s seizures fail to come under control with treatment. These seizures are also sometimes called ‘refractory’ or ‘uncontrolled’.

What does the Epilepsy Surgery Programme do?

“The Epilepsy Surgery Programme is for people with intractable epilepsy. We investigate whether it would be possible to offer them an operation to reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures with an aim, in some cases, to stop them all together. The proposed outcome is dependent on the results of pre-operation investigations.

“The Programme has advanced considerably over the last two decades. This could not have been achieved without the aid of Neurocare/ Sheffield Hospitals Charity. They have allowed us to purchase additional equipment in the modern purpose-built telemetry unit to increase the number of patients we are able to treat.”

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

“This is easy – the patients. The journey from entering the Epilepsy Surgery Programme to surgery can take over two years, then there is the post-op care. I am involved in their care from the onset and keep in touch throughout and beyond. Some people have become good friends and I have been invited to weddings, christenings, birthdays, graduations and other family events.

“There are support groups I assist with and everyone has my work mobile number that they can contact me at any time for support, advice or just a chat.

“I have witnessed people achieving things in their life which just would not have been possible without the Epilepsy Surgery and the feedback I receive is so gratifying and heart-warming.”

How does it feel to approach your 50th work anniversary?

“I approach the anniversary with mixed emotions. I have loved my role within the NHS and have been proud to say I work for the Trust. However, I am very aware that retirement is looming in the not-too-distant future and this will be the end of an era for me.

“There are many people I would like to mention. I have been lucky and honoured to work with some really dedicated people, including the staff of the Department of Neurophysiology and the Multi-Disciplinary Epilepsy Surgery Team. Past and present they all have been a great team to be part of and work alongside.

“In particular I would like to mention my colleague Michelle Blythe who has been my close “Epilepsy Surgery” side kick through thick and thin over the last couple of years. However, as she “volunteered” me to do this she is in big trouble!”