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Norah Crawford

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  • Norah Crawford
  • Senior Healthcare Assistant, Orthapaedic Ward, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast HSC Trust

What attracted you to become a Nursing Assistant?

When I was very young my Mummy was very unwell and was in and out of hospital quite a bit. I always wanted to make mummy better. When I was seven years old I needed a minor operation that required a short stay in hospital.  The night I had my operation I got up to use the bathroom and woke to find a nurse carrying me back to bed as I had fainted.  I remember the nurse spoke in a caring and kind manner and reassured me that everything was ok her voice was so calming and I wasn’t even frightened. That night I made a pledge to myself that I would be that nurse who helped make people feel better.

I hadn’t made the grades to get into university to study nursing. I did not let that stop me. I studied health and social care and from my first work experience knew I wanted to become a Nursing Assistant.  I wanted to make people’s lives better and if I couldn’t do nursing I would do the next best thing.  I would support the nurse in their role in caring and nursing patients back to good health or make their final days happy ones.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love everything about my role. I get so much job satisfaction from my role as a Nursing Assistant.  I enjoy seeing people get over illness or hurdles progressing to better health.  I feel very humble being with someone when they are in the last hours of their life.  I enjoy the interaction between myself and service users as no two days are ever the same.  I enjoy when the patient says thank you and they tell you how you have helped them individually. I enjoy the flexibility of being able to work on a rota system which covers 24/7, this allows for flexibility with having a family.   I love working with service users who have different needs, communicating  with the  various multi-disciplinary team  as I feel it makes me  feel a very valuable team member  I enjoy updating the Registered Nurse on the patient’s condition during my shift.  When you see service users leaving the ward with a smile on their face you know you have done something right to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

Tell us about your most memorable moment in your role.

My most memorable moment was when I received a letter from a service user. The service user had posted a letter to the ward individually addressed to myself.  They had thanked me and emphasised how I had helped her walk again after she had received a knee replacement.  The patient was having great difficulty walking due to pain and anxiety. She thought she couldn’t walk as she had convinced herself that she couldn’t.  I remember sitting at her bed side and having a chat with her.  I encouraged her to walk and reassured her she could do it. (Sometimes patients need encouraged and offered support to reassure them that they can overcome hurdles).I offered her assistance and told her we would do it together as a team and we could take our time.  The chat completely changed the service users’ attitude and she was and mobilising independently that evening.  Sometimes we need to put ourselves in the service users’ position and think how we would feel.

How do you see your career developing as a Nursing Assistant?

I have just completed my nursing degree with the Open University this month. I feel the 17 years I worked as a Healthcare Assistant gave me valuable experience to go ahead and complete my degree. I started as a Band 2 Healthcare Assistant, and then completed training to allow me to do an extended role within the ward as a Band 3. I have since completed my nursing degree and am now a Band 5. If I had not had the experience as a Healthcare Assistant completing my degree would have been more challenging.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career as a Nursing Assistant?

I would advise anyone considering a career as a Nursing Assistant to seize the chance and go for it. Take all opportunities and training offered to you and enjoy the most rewarding career of them all. Nursing Assistants are the eyes, ears and backbone of the NHS.  Never be afraid to ask questions and only work within your role and competencies. Never be afraid to say you don’t know how to do something and ask for help.

 

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