On Saturday, May 12, 2018 the country celebrates International Nurses Day – created to say thank you to the men and women who dedicate their careers to delivering outstanding patient care.
The #ThisNurse campaign encourages nurses to share their experiences of the profession.
We interviewed #ThisNurse Sarah Holland, who lives in North Bristol, about her job as a paediatric nurse working for UH Bristol on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Michaels, and the New born Emergency Stabilisation and Transport Team (NEST).
What inspired you to become a nurse?
“I originally wanted to become a nurse as my mum has been a care assistant in the NHS all her life and inspired me to want to become a nurse. I also have a cousin who been in hospital for periods of time. One is autistic and my other cousin had her leg amputated as a baby due to complications when she was born, I helped look after them throughout my teens which inspired me to become a paediatric nurse.”
What do you find particularly difficult about the job?
- My job can be quite stressful at times as we go to different neonatal units and help stabilise babies, and then take them to a more specialised unit which offer a higher level of treatment. The units we support are in Gloucester, Swindon, Bath, Taunton and Yeovil. Sometimes we need to go further afield depending on what the baby needs.
- It’s also difficult taking babies away from their families as this means separating mother and baby for a short time as mum will usually get moved to the same hospital when her condition allows.
Describe your ‘average’ day
- Working for NEST means my average day can be different day to day. I work in a team of nurses and doctors that transfer preterm and sick term babies and take them to a specialised unit.
- Team handover and safety brief, equipment checks (we’ve got a lot of equipment!) review of previous cases, training exercises, respond to any referrals as and when they come in.
- Once the baby’s condition improves the baby is taken back to their local unit, usually this means I will do this on my own as these infants are less sick
- On the NICU, an average day includes assessing and evaluating the care we’re giving to the babies I’ve been allocated to look after. Making sure they receive all their feeds and medications, making sure they are comfortable and settled, and continuous monitoring of their vital signs. We spend a lot of time supporting families, helping them to understand what is going on, trying to reduce their worries, and helping them to get involved in the care of their baby as much as possible.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
It’s hard to say a highlight of my career, however, day to day I do get a lot of achievement out of my job. Everyday parents are going through what they will describe as the worst experience of their lives, so to be able to support parents/families and give them some guidance and show them what they can do to help their child, gives them reassurance.
How has nursing changed in the time you’ve been a nurse?
- Nursing is a profession that’s changing all the time, changes in nursing are now research and educational based. Extremely premature babies are managed differently from a medical point of view, and also families are being more and more involved in the care of their babies.
- To get where I am now on transport I have had to do extra training in university to specialise in intensive care.
Is International Nurse’s Day important? If so, why?
- It helps promote nursing as a career, recognising the different roles nurses have in healthcare.
- Hearing nurses’ experiences shows what a difference we can make to people’s lives.
Do you have a story to share about a #ThisNurse you know? Get in touch with The Interchange as we’d love to share more fantastic stories…