An insight into a career in nursing from our gesh nurses
This International Nurses Day, meet some of the nurses working across our hospitals...
Marco, Renal Nurse at Epsom and St Helier University Hospital Trust
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm an Italian nurse who arrived in UK in June 2017. I started working at Epsom and St Helier University Hospital Trust as Renal Staff Nurse in March 2021, so I’ve now been employed at the Trust for more than 2 years.
What does your day-to-day look like?
My typical day on the Renal B6 ward as Band 5 nurse starts at 7.30 am and finishes at 8 pm, during this time I do all the typical nursing tasks which includes medication, dressings, and generally taking care of my patients physically but more importantly mentally and spiritually.
What made you want to become a nurse?
To explain what made me want to become a nurse, I’ll go back to what I meant by looking after patients mentally and spiritually. I've always liked to help and be available for others, so when I decided to take this pathway, it felt very natural even with the thousands of obstacles that I had to overcome. My idea of nursing is not only to treat the patients and do my job passively, but to actually try to make a difference while they are in my care. My best way to do that is to try to make them feel like they’re not in a hospital, by making them laugh and smile, and trying to let them forget they are actually sick, maintaining high professionalism standards at all times of course.
What do you like most about being a nurse?
What I like most about my profession is when patients or relatives see and recognise your effort to make their stay "lighter" and more enjoyable, that is an unparalleled moment that erases any negativity or tiredness accumulated during the day and helps you keep going!
Miriam, Managerial Nurse for the Renal Day Unit and Procedure Room
What’s your role and what does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day as a nurse can vary. For instance, working in RDU and Procedure Room I am responsible for providing pre and post theatre care for patients going under Local Anesthetic, Reginal Block anesthesi and Genaral Anaesthetic surgery for Creation of the access for dialysis Graft or AV fistula. My day involves a mix of IV administration such as Cyclophosphamide, Rituximab, Tocilizumab Infliximab infusions, antibiotics, blood transfusion iv magnesium and iv calcium. We also receive patient for blood and reviews. I also help getting the patients ready before undergoing the day case procedures such as transplant and native biopsy, HD and PD Lines insertions and removal.
Some of the typical tasks as a nurse in Procedure Room include assisting the Renal Consultant with all the procedures taking vital signs, administering medication, assessing patient conditions, dressing wounds. I also provide emotional support and education to patients and their families, especially during difficult times. Additionally, I am responsible for documenting patient information accurately and updating patient records regularly. I always develop a trustworthy relationship with the patients and their families assisting them not only physically but also emotionally and improving their lives.
While it can be a demanding profession, being a nurse is also incredibly fulfilling as it involves making a positive impact on the lives of others. It is a fast-paced and challenging profession, but also rewarding and fulfilling.
How long have you worked for Epsom and St Helier?
I joined St Helier hospital in September 2008 after my Nursing Degree at Kingston University. I have been working in Renal Unit for the past 14 years and have worked in all the 3 wards, Croydon HD Satellite PD and Acute HD.
What made you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
Nursing is a job I love and I decided to become a nurse because of my desire to help others and make a positive impact on their lives. I am passionate about providing compassionate care and assisting people during their times of need. Nursing is a challenging profession that requires a combination of critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and empathy. I am inspired by the courage and resilience of patients and their families, and I feel privileged to be part of their journey towards healing and recovery. Being a Renal Nurse is not just a job for me, it is a calling, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my Trust through this profession.
I have always had the determination to make a difference in the lives of others facing health challenges, that’s why I embarked on a journey to become a renal nurse.
Kalai, Pre-Assessment Diabetic and Practice Educator Nurse, St George’s University Hospital
How did you get into your current role?
I qualified as a nurse in 1990 but joined St George’s in 2017, simply whilst on the lookout for a new experience. Before that I was a Intensive Care Nurse at Kings College Hospital.
What achievements have you been proud of?
I’ve been really proud to work on a Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) project for pre-assessment diabetes patients.
As part of this project, I’ve assessed patients who are diabetic, that can be type 1 or type 2, and waiting to go into surgery, helping them with a plan to optimise their blood sugars before surgery.
As part of this plan, due to a reduction in post-operative complications, we’ve reduced how many days patients need to stay in the hospital after surgery from 4-5 days to 1.5-2 days. I was even asked to speak about the successes at a national GIRFT conference.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I have always been a patient-centred person, I’ve always wanted to work with people and especially clinically.
I love in this role seeing the improvements patients make after I help them optimise their blood sugars, and it’s great when I get thanks from the patients and the doctors I work with for doing this. Often I help patients optimise their blood sugar levels from 16 – 18 down to 6-8 which is great.
What’s also so great about this role is how attentive I have the opportunity to be with patients, before their surgery I call them once or twice a week to help them on their journey to optimising their blood sugars.
What do you say to anyone considering a nursing career?
My nursing career has been amazing; I’ve had so many opportunities to learn and develop in areas of interest to me.
To anyone who is considering a nursing career, or who is a nurse and faced with an opportunity for promotion of development, I say go for it!
I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank my amazing team, Dr Mimi Chen, Dr Kanachan Patil, Anchu Kamala and Orleas Mullings.
Judith, Senior Nurse in our Day Surgery Recovery Unit, St George’s University Hospital
What is your role and how did you get into this type of nursing?
In 2020 I started at St George’s as a newly qualified nurse in theatres, of course with it being 2020 and the pandemic taking over, I was redeployed to go and work in a COVID ICU. Being a newly qualified nurse, this was really daunting, but we got through it and in April 2021 I was given the opportunity to move to the recovery unit as a band 5 nurse. I felt like I was back to where I’ve always wanted to be as a nurse.
I got into nursing in the first instance because of my dad, he passed away at a young age, and I always thought had we been in this country with leading healthcare, maybe he would have made it. I know now he’s proud of me and my career, and how I’m helping people.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Every day is completely different. Even though you’re doing similar essential tasks, no two days are the same. I start my day at 7:30 am and I have a variety of clinical tasks and managerial responsibilities that I see to throughout the day. We have a great team, we’re like our own little family, and leadership is great too, including my matron, Adwoa Anim-Botchway, who is so supportive.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Supporting new staff and students is what I love most about my role. Knowing that they are learning in a supportive environment means we can together strive for excellence in the quality of care. I’m passionate about education and love and embrace every opportunity I get to mentor.
What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing?
It’s very rewarding. If your passion lies in wanting to make a difference to people’s lives then I’d definitely recommend it. I personally find reward in helping particularly vulnerable patients, I make sure they feel at ease.
I also feel nursing is a great career as you can learn so much, you build knowledge in areas that are really important.
To all the student nurses out there, it can feel really daunting, but take the opportunity to find out what you like and stick to that. I think you’ll find in the areas of nursing that you enjoy, you’ll find more motivation to learn and develop.
What do you enjoy most about what I do?
The intricate nature of renal nursing fascinated me from the beginning. The kidneys, with their vital role in maintaining the body's balance and eliminating waste, intrigued me intellectually. I was drawn to the complexity of renal diseases, the intricacies of dialysis procedures, and the innovative techniques used in transplantation. I knew that by pursuing a career in renal nursing, I would have the opportunity to make a tangible impact in improving the quality of life for patients, supporting them through their treatments, and offering compassionate care during their most vulnerable moments.
One of the aspects I truly enjoy about renal nursing is the opportunity to develop deep and meaningful connections with my patients. The nature of chronic kidney disease often requires patients to undergo regular dialysis treatments or even receive kidney transplants, leading to frequent interactions. This consistent presence in their lives allows me to build trust, provide ongoing support, and witness the positive impact of my care over time. It's incredibly rewarding to see my patients' health improve, their spirits uplifted, and their resilience shining through, knowing that I have played a part in their journey towards a better quality of life.
Another aspect of renal nursing that brings me joy is the continuous learning and innovation within the field. Kidney diseases and their treatments are constantly evolving, and as a renal nurse, I have the opportunity to stay updated with the latest advancements. Whether it's learning about cutting-edge dialysis techniques, exploring new medications, or understanding the intricacies of transplantation, I find the dynamic nature of renal nursing to be intellectually stimulating. This constant learning keeps me engaged and motivated, as I strive to provide the best possible care to my patients by incorporating the latest evidence-based practices into my nursing skills and expertise.
Bini, Senior Anaesthetic Nurse in St James Theatres, St George’s University Hospital
What’s your role and how did you get into this type of nursing?
I did my nursing training in India, but in 2005 I started at St George’s, and I’ve been here ever since, for 18 years! I’ve been in my current role for a month, before this I did a course in Anaesthetic nursing that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, so I was really pleased to get the opportunity to take it on.
I went into nursing after completing my A Levels when I was 18, my mum convinced me to do it and I’m so glad she did. On my first day I cried as I had a bad experience, but I’m really proud that I stuck with it.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I get the location of the theatres I’m in, and the first thing I do each morning is check everything is ready and working for the day. I always use our checklist to ensure that I don’t miss anything out. I chat to the Anaesthetist who tells me what each patient needs so I can get everything prepared for them.
What would you say to anyone considering becoming a nurse?
You need to have dedication, be honest, be good at timekeeping, and most importantly be a team player.
First and foremost, nursing really does mean working hard. But you’ll have successes and so much to be proud of. I’ve found this is especially when you get through challenging situations with patients and your team.
Nursing is such a respectful profession, and I think this is the case even more so since the pandemic, so it’s definitely the best profession to get into in my eyes.