The POEMS Story

The POEMS initiative began with a poolside chat between Rich Martin and Mike Stylianou after a chance encounter whilst they were both on holiday in Cyprus in 2007. As a trainee at Great Ormond Street Hospital at the end of The Millennium, Rich delivered his end of year presentation on peri-operative anxiety and the research published in the previous 80 years that underpinned this field investigation. Mike had come from a background including training in the speaking therapies and he had subsequently persuaded Rich that gaining some training in this field would be of interest. Armed with the knowledge they had gained, they had become increasingly aware that the majority of medical professionals they encountered were completely unaware of this problem in children under their care. Additionally, they had both started to realise that many techniques they had been taught as part of training in hypnotherapy, were highly effective when used in conversation with anxious children, in order to manage and reduce their anxiety.

The poolside conversation in 2007 revolved around this issue and a potential solution. It wasn’t long before a one-day course teaching a structured approach to the management of peri-operative anxiety in children took shape. And the rest, as they say is history.

It wasn’t long before Phil Cunnington joined them. As a close friend of both of them and having undergone his own training in hypnotherapy, he shared their interest in working in this field. Phil takes credit for coming up with The POEMS acronym and after far too many hours of Rich hovering over a laptop, The POEMS logo was born.

The last 10 years of our journey has been amazing. The course has gone from strength to strength. We’ve managed to train more than 2000 delegates and gained feedback that we are humbled by. Some 97.6% of our graduates say the course will improve their management of children and 99% saying they would recommend the course to others. The course is well recognised as a source of high quality training in the field of communication and management of peri-opartive anxiety in children and has been delivered by POEMS For Children as a UK registered charity since 2014.

And yet…the journey has only just begun. We will see where it takes us. What a privilege we feel.