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Where and when do you work?
My normal working pattern is Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.00 but I also participate in the on-call manager rota so take calls out of hours, evenings and weekends (even the middle of the night sometimes!).
I can usually be found in my office in the Hospice when I am not “out and about”. I usually work from home on a Monday and Thursday.
What has surprised you about what how you and/or your team have adapted since the pandemic hit?
Nothing could have prepared us for what has happened this past year but I have been incredibly proud of how everyone has adapted and worked together to support the needs of our services and supporting each other.
Having to keep myself up to date with the plethora of changing information on a daily basis has been exhausting but necessary in order to ensure the Hospice maintains high standards of care whilst complying with all the statutory and regulatory requirements. I perhaps didn’t realise just how much “behind the scenes” work is involved when managing a pandemic. I have made new friends and got to know a lot more about health and social care across the system.
What motivated you to become a nurse?
I used to work in a Residential care home on a Saturday, in the kitchen doing the washing up and then I got a job as a Care Assistant when I was 16. I witnessed outstanding care but sadly also abuse of elderly and vulnerable residents which made me so angry. I knew I wanted to be able to make a difference and this motivated me at the age of 18 to apply to do my nurse training. I started as a student nurse at the age of 19 and trained at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
How long have you been a nurse?
I have been qualified since September 1995.
In which areas of nursing have you had experience?
I started my nursing on an Acute Admissions Ward for the elderly and then moved to Cambridge, getting a job at Addenbrookes Hospital working on the Diabetic and Endocrinology ward. I have worked in Acute Medicine, Acute Stroke and Neurological Rehabilitation, and Medicine for the Elderly. As a Matron, I was responsible for several clinical areas in Division C which included overseeing Palliative Care Services.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being a part of #TeamArthur! The Hospice is amazing and does amazing work. Being part of the Leadership Team is a privilege and I enjoy exploring ways in which we can build on the current outstanding work and provide new and innovative ways of working to support our community. My role is varied and demanding and I get to work with fantastic people.
How has nursing changed during your career?
Gosh, so much! New technology means no longer wiping oral thermometers when reading them from patient’s mouths (and let’s not talk about rectal ones!).
Paperwork has changed so much. We now have new technology to support aspects of nursing we didn’t have back in the 90’s when I first qualified, like electronic record systems.
Patients are living longer and are getting frailer and new research guides changes in care. Nursing has become more administrative and less “hands on”, often as a result of the need to document everything because of potential litigation. But the fundamental principles of nursing have not changed. It is still important to Assess, Plan, Implement and Evaluate all aspects of patient care to ensure they receive the best we can deliver. It is still fundamental that we are kind. Always.
Looking back, what advice would give yourself as a student nurse? Don’t stress about things you cannot control. “If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it”. Be kind to yourself not just everyone else. “Nurses are like Icebergs, you only ever see about a fifth of what they are actually doing!”