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International Nurses Day - 12 May - Meet our Nurses...

Thursday 12 May is #InternationalNursesDay it is celebrated around the world every year, it is also the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

We join millions around the globe to thank all nurses and other health care professionals who work relentlessly to provide high quality care and treatment to patients.

We spoke to two of our own nurses, to learn more about their careers and nursing journeys.

Meet Sharon, our Senior Primary Care Workforce Programme lead, who also began her nursing career in 1978.

What is your career journey as a Nurse?

I began my nursing career in 1978 as an Apprentice Nurse. After qualifying and moving to Kent from Teeside, I worked in a Nursing Home and then in Occupational Health. Following a career break in 1985 to start a family, I returned in 1990 to work in an acute hospital setting. In 1992 I moved into Primary Care and fell in love with Primary Care Nursing. Following further professional development, I became involved in supporting patients living with long term conditions. I became a Queens Nurse in 2012 and then joined the Guild of Nurses in 2019.

Why did you want to become a nurse?

After an accident I was treated by the nurses at my local hospital, I became so inspired by them that I realised I wanted to become a nurse.

What was it like to work as a nurse in Primary Care?

No two days were the same and I was able to work with patients in the local community. As a Nurse working in Primary Care I was involved in almost every aspect of patient care, looking after them at every step of the journey.

What does being a nurse mean to you?

Being a nurse is such a privilege to me, providing high quality care to patients to make sure their journeys are the best possible experience, working with the wider professional team at times achieve this. More recently, I was thrilled to be awarded Freedom of the City of London in 2021. In all that time I have never forgot my experience of that nurse who inspired me all those years ago and still to this day have contact with them.

Meet Philly, one of our Workforce Managers. She qualified to be a nurse 35 years ago.

Why did you want to become a nurse?

I grew up with a farming background and spent my childhood looking after sick animals. My Grandfather was a Kent GP and I used to go with him on visits, so I grew up with it.

What was it like to work as a nurse in Primary Care?

It was very different 35 years ago than it was today. Nurses where mainly hand maidens to GP’s. They undertook the majority of clinical tasks with the exception of vaccinations and wound care. Today Primary Care is a very different organisation. Nurse roles still tend to be mainly clinical, care is evidence based and backed up by current research, for example Covid-19. Nurses are much more involved in leadership, focusing on how to deliver services differently and more effectively.

How does the nursing role fit within the new roles, how do they find their place between Nursing Associate, GP assistant and PA?

Nurses fit into the system at all levels depending on their level of experience. Experienced nurses can help clinical staff progress along their learning pathways, they can support GPA’s to gain their care certificates and learn clinical skills, like taking blood. Nurses combine the art of caring with the implementation of an ever changing clinical world.

What does being a nurse mean to you?

Being a nurse means so much to me. It has given me an internationally recognised identity where people respect and trust me. It has given me wonderful opportunities to be trained for free and explore other interesting roles. It gave me a ticket to work in different parts of the world. Nursing has given me confidence and helped mould me into the person I am today.

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