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Yolanda Dixon

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  • Yolanda Dixon
  • Senior Nursing Assistant, Neurology, Musgrave Park Hospital, Belfast HSC Trust

What attracted you to become a Senior Nursing Assistant?

I had already worked six years in the community and a year in a private nursing home when I decided to apply for a job in the hospital where I felt I could develop my skills and career as a Band 2. I was supported to complete a NVQ level 3 qualification to enable me to further my skills and development and provide high quality care to patients. I am proud to say that I have now been working as a Senior Nursing Assistant for six years in Neurology.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love interacting with the patients. They are all so different and when you talk to them, listen to their stories and get to know their families they become more than just your patient. I try to make the environment more homely for the patient and support activities like Arts Care.

Neurology is a great place to work where we strive to make a difference to our patients. The friends that you make in your team are people that really make your day enjoyable.

Tell us about your most memorable moment in your role.

One moment stands out in particular. It was a grieving relative thanking me for the care I had provided to her daughter and how much she had appreciated me for making her daughters last months just as if she had been cared for at home. I just thought this is what the point and purpose of my job is. That I could look after my patient at the end of their journey and care for them and provide an environment that does not feel clinical or sterile. I also feel that in the Neurology Unit we take care of the wider family too and that losing one of our patients is like losing part of our unit family. This was very humbling moment for me.

How do you see your career developing as a Senior nursing assistant?

This job offers continuous learning and development. I have recently completed the BEACH (Bedside Emergency Assessment Course For Healthcare Staff) course- this has given me further skills to assist the nursing staff in the care of deteriorating patients. This work adds to the variety of my job, so not only am I making my patients’ lives more comfortable in terms of their daily care, I am also able to adapt my skills when emergencies arise.

Another way my career has developed is becoming a role model for new starts and being a mentor. I also enjoy my link role in skin care and applying wound dressings. I am involved in service improvement, having a voice and having that voice heard, knowing that your ideas are being implemented across the ward. I am now a Champion for the ‘what matters to me’ initiative on the ward, promoting compassionate care and conversation so that patients are less distressed or less lonely while in hospital. I am now training others in what is important to my patients.

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

If you value caring and putting someone else’s needs before your own, this is the job for you.

Even when some days are hard, you do go home thinking ‘I did a good job today.’ However, for all the challenges you face there are always the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Working in the Neurology Unit means having to work as a team and having the ability to be a flexible and hardworking team player is very important.

Being a Senior Nursing Assistant means there are so many opportunities to develop new skills to support the Nursing Team to care for patients. There are opportunities to work across the trust, to work in different settings and with new people. It is a very valued and rewarding job.


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