Ever wondered what it is like to be a frontline health worker? Our new weekly feature explores just that.

It has been over a year since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the UK, and hospital staff have been battling the pandemic ever since.

We have teamed-up with Epsom and St Helier Trust to give you an insight into the 'humans of health care'.

Each week we will shine light on a frontline worker involved in the day-to-day running of Epsom-St Helier hospitals.

This week we feature Lead Scientist in Bacteriology, Catherine Fontinelle.

Catherine Fontinelle speaks on the moment she first realised she wanted to be a scientist and how she keeps fit in her spare time.

“I’ve loved science since I was a child, but at school I wasn’t aware of the career opportunities it could provide," she said.

"In Sixth Form I went on a Women in Science and Engineering course at Imperial College and discovered Biological Science.

"The course made for a lot of firsts: it was the first time I’d been away from home, and I spent five days in halls of residence with a group of budding female scientists.

"It was my first experience of a modern laboratory facility – not a wooden bench in sight! – and it was the first time I realised I wanted to be a scientist."

Catherine choose a Medical Microbiology unit as part of her degree, which was taught by a Biomedical Scientist from St Mary’s Hospital.

"I loved it, and as a graduate applied for my first position with St Mary’s Bacteriology department," she added.

"That was 30 years ago, and I still enjoy my job every single day! I count myself very lucky to feel that way about work.

Your Local Guardian:

“I joined Epsom and St Helier 12 years ago, and took over as acting Lead Scientist in Bacteriology last January. I love this job, and I do something different every day.

"This hospital is full of kind, caring staff which is what makes it such a great place to work.

I feel very grateful to work with an amazing team, within microbiology and throughout the trust.

"They are so supportive, and together we always do our absolute best for our patients. I can’t think of a job I’d rather do."

She added: "Biomedical Sciences is not the most visible career, but it is incredibly satisfying.

"In the lab we analyse different samples to identify bacteria causing infections, and from there treatment begins to start healing the patient; it’s a bit like being part of a detective team!

Out of work I swap my lab coat for sequins, as my husband and I compete a international level in ballroom and Latin.

"In our category, we’re ranked 33rd in the country for Latin, and 86th for ballroom.

"It’s very different to the lab, but I love it!"

If you'd like to work for Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust check out their most recent career opportunities here.

Missed out on our most recent Humans of Healthcare features? See more below.

- Lead midwife speaks on 'amazing career'

- Fight against Covid with junior doctor