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Geraldine Byers

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  • Geraldine Byers
  • Consultant Nurse

Job/Role Summary

In my role as Nurse Consultant, I am involved in the development of strategic aspects of emergency nursing as well as being involved in developments in emergency nursing at a more local level. My role regularly involves me engaging with a wide range of colleagues who interface with the Emergency Department in order to ensure that patient care is safe, timely and appropriate. I am also involved in working in partnership with higher and in service education providers in the development of education programmes specifically for Emergency Nurses.

I have a particular interest in Quality Improvement and have lead on a number of initiatives including Sepsis management and Lean projects to maximize flows through ED. I have completed the Scottish Patient Safety Fellowship Programme which focuses on Quality Improvement methodology applicable to clinical practice which was really beneficial.

Specific qualifications and experience required

I commenced my career in Emergency Care in the Mater Hospital in 1990. Since then I have remained within the Specialty working in a variety of clinical roles including Staff Nurse MIH ED, Staff Nurse RVH ED, Sister RVH ED and Lead Nurse BCH ED. During my career I have completed a BSc Hons in Specialist Practice in Emergency Nursing and Masters in Public Administration. I have been an instructor on the Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) for over 21years.

Career Milestones 

Getting my G Grade Sister’s post in RVH ED was a memorable milestone in my nursing career. When I was a staff nurse starting off this was the only job I ever really wanted and aspired to. I know my parents were both extremely proud of me getting this job.Also obtaining a BSc Hons degree and Masters while working full time. 

What attracted you to the job 

I had spent very little time as a student nurse in Emergency Care so when I got my first post in the Mater Hospital, I didn’t really know what to expect. . The routine in A&E was very different from what I had been used to working in a ward setting, with the huge variation in patient presentations and the ever present ‘threat’ of the stand by phone going to ring at any minute. I had some fantastic support from my mentor in the Mater who ensured I completed a thorough induction and had exposure to all the various areas within the department. The thing that really struck me about Emergency Care was the sense of camaraderie between the entire team – clerical staff, porters, Doctors, Domestic staff and Nursing staff. This became especially evident when there was a difficult situation or a challenging resus that we had to deal with. 

Enjoyable aspects of the job/role 

Working in Emergency Care is like working in no other place. The pace you work at can change in an instant. Nurses in ED need to be able to deal with such a variety of situations from one minute to the next, whether this is dealing with bereaved relatives of a patient who has died in traumatic circumstances or dressing the wound of a young teenager who has been injured playing football. We have to be able to deal with patients and their families when they are anxious, frightened, worried or angry – in a calm professional manner. I feel it is a great privilege working in ED as we see patients at their most vulnerable – it is our job to make them feel safe. 

Important Success factors 

Always try and perceive things from the patient’s perspective in. We do things in ED as a matter of routine as we work in the environment every day. Many patients who come to us are often extremely worried and anxious – it is important that we are not dismissive of them or what their relatives are telling us.Also make sure you promote a good working environment for yourself and your colleagues. Human Factors – Empty your bucket at the door before you come on duty! 

Key skills that can be gained within this job/role 

The knowledge and skills you gain working as a Nurse in Emergency Care will act a fantastic foundation for wherever you decide to go in your nursing career. Prioritising clinical care, risk management, conflict resolution, dealing with challenging situations are some of the skills you will acquire working in ED. You will also develop excellent skills working as part of a close knit team and perhaps in leading the team. You will also learn about a wide range of clinical presentations and the appropriate management of these. As the Emergency Care Framework highlights, there are exciting opportunities to develop your career within Emergency Care through a variety of pathways. If you enjoy a challenge and are able to adapt to ever changing situations then Emergency Care is for you. It also helps to have a good sense of humour. 

Advice for those considering the type of job/role 

I would always advise nurses in ED to avail of every opportunity to develop themselves and to put themselves forward for new career challenges. Working as an Emergency Care Nurse Consultant has exposed me to working at a Strategic level, however the important thing for me has always been how such proposals will impact and be deliverable at the patient level.

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