After gaining a BTEC Diploma in Childcare Studies and an Advanced Diploma in Nursing Studies, Laura worked as a Band 5 staff nurse in a paediatric intensive care unit for two years. She went on to study a top-up course and gained a degree in nursing studies in 2011. Now she works in a children's hospital as a Band 6 staff nurse in the recovery area.
While no two days are ever the same, the routine and order of the day is similar. When patients come into recovery from theatres, they are unconscious. As recovery nurses, we manage their airway until they are able to breathe for themselves. We assess pain management and administer the prescribed medication, if needed. We also monitor for dehydration, low glucose levels, internal bleeding, etc. When we're happy a patient has recovered and is stable, we transfer them back to the ward they were admitted to, handing over to the nurse who will look after them. We recover emergencies and high dependency patients who have had major surgery, so the procedures performed are very varied.
My role has developed as I have gained experience. I feel confident and highly competent in dealing with emergency situations and when supporting colleagues and nursing students. I also use my professional judgement to assess when more help is needed. Working in recovery has developed my managerial and communication skills. I take charge of the unit and ensure surgery and recovery times run smoothly while liaising with members of the multi-disciplinary team.
My career ambitions are to continue providing high standards of care to my patients and to learn new skills and knowledge and gain more clinical experiences wherever possible.
I enjoy working with children, but equally enjoy working with their families - caring and supporting them both. I also enjoy the dynamic nature of the recovery area. For example, if an airway problem arises I am able to take charge of the situation and remain calm.
The most challenging part of the job is dealing with death. Sometimes it's hard to detach yourself from children and their families while providing end of life and bereavement care.
However, it's extremely rewarding to provide a high standard of care and service to the public and making a difference to patients' lives. Although the job comes with challenges, the rewards make up for them.
The top-up course I completed was extremely relevant for my current job as, these days, the only way to become a nurse is to do the degree in nursing studies. For students thinking of pursuing a nursing career, I would advise gaining experience before you do the course as it's not for everyone. It helps to have volunteer work within a hospital environment on your CV and look into working as a support worker doing bank shifts. This shows universities you are keen on your chosen career path and it also gives you an idea of what nursing can be like before you delve into a three or four-year course that you may later regret.
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