I have been nursing for 22 years and now lead a team of nurses who I nurture and look after. I love it. I love the adrenaline push I think, and the fact that we really do make a difference when people are in a crisis.
It can be sudden, life or death chaos so decision making can be very intense. I have learned to make snappy decisions and to bring a bit of structure to my practice. But even after 22 years you can still have doubts and find yourself asking ‘why did I do that?’. I have just learned to rationalise it all so that I can justify my decisions at the end of my shift. If I am really bothered about something I will make sure I talk to someone before I go home. You just have to get it out and then forget about it.
The thing I love about ED is that I get to see patients getting well in front of me. As frontliners we see how unwell they are when they come in. You give them the treatment, and they respond to your nursing care, so you see them improve and progress. Sometimes they come back to thank us, and who doesn’t love a bit of appreciation?
I especially love ED in this hospital at Whipps Cross. In all my years working I don’t think I have enjoyed the camaraderie as much as this. The more junior people are really nurtured and protected and I think they feel safer here. Whatever course they need, we will look into it and try to book them in. Everyone helps each other and we treat everybody the same, so there are really good friendships across all grades.
The support comes my way too. I don’t mind admitting that I’ve had a few health scares of my own and they take that into consideration. They will ask how much time do I need, and how much study might I need to get my career where I want it to be. I want to be a better nurse and team leader, and that’s what they want too.
That is one of the big things about Whipps Cross. It is a great place for learning. If you look at the demographics of the area we serve, then you are going to see lots of different illnesses and many different presentations from our range of patients. We see young, adult, and elderly as well as quite a lot of psychiatric patients, so we are expanding our knowledge all the time.
Perhaps the best thing for me is seeing my nurses finishing a shift with morale still high, knowing that we have worked hard as a team, and they have been recognised for their work. That makes my heart smile.