What has been your most memorable moment during your career in nursing?
One of my most memorable moments during my nursing career was during a shift on the Ulster Hospitals mobile coronary care unit. This service involved a nurse and doctor leaving the hospital setting to provide coronary care treatment in the local community. During this particular call we had received details of a young adult who had collapsed whilst out for a birthday meal. On arrival the patient was in cardiac arrest and thankfully a by stander had starter CPR; we administered resuscitation care utilising defibrillation and stabilised the patient before transferring to hospital. The patient was then investigated for the cause of this collapse and found to have a rare cardiac condition which was then effectively treated with medication and an Implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Being of a similar age it really hit home how fragile life is, the importance of CPR and early defibrillation and how my training really kicked in and enabled myself and the team save the patient’s life. As this event occurred on the patient’s birthday, all the staff on the ward held a birthday celebration prior to discharge albeit with some dodgy singing and a candle in a chocolate muffin, it’s the thought that counts.
What do you value most about nursing?
Being a nurse is a privilege; we are there through all the good times and bad times in patients and their families lives. Working in a trusted profession, with fantastic and inspirational teams that provide holistic patient centred care in combination with the knowledge and understanding to deliver highly skilled technical skills.
Helping others makes the world a better place.
What motivates you to stay in this area of nursing practice?
Some people call me a cardiac bore, but I absolutely love cardiology and I have enjoyed every minute working as a specialist cardiac nurse but also within my current role as clinical development coordinator for the British Heart Foundation. Coronary heart disease still remains the largest cause of death in Northern Ireland and effects nearly 225,000 people not to mention those patients living with hypertension atrial fibrillation, heart failure and genetic conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
These patients and their carers motivate me on a daily basis with my work. I aim to help deliver transformational and sustainable change within cardiovascular diagnosis and care to improve CVD patient outcomes. I work with my colleagues across primary & secondary care, Public Health Agency & Department of Health NI to provide support and share best practice models of care.
What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing?
Listen to your mum, because without her guidance I probably would not have become a nurse, she was able to see something in me and as always was right, directing me into the nursing profession.
Honestly, its hard work but my goodness what a fantastic and rewarding career nursing is!
Yes there will be highs and lows, sometimes on a daily basis but caring for people is a privilege. Your care and interaction with a patient may last minutes, hours, days or even weeks at times but will be remembered for a life time, and that’s the power of nursing.