Let's Celebrate International Nurses Day!


Each year the invaluable role that nurses play in keeping people as healthy and independent as possible is recognised on International Nurses Day. Islington Clinical Commissioning Group is gearing up to mark International Nurses Day this year with a number of activities to say thank you for the amazing contribution of nurses, and to celebrate the role of our fantastic nurse leaders.

International Nurses Day is held annually on 12th May, a date selected to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, who was a symbol of pioneering nursing.

To celebrate the day, NHS Islington CCG has compiled a collection of short profile stories of our nurses who have made a big difference to NHS services, and helped many people living in Islington and North Central London.

Leading up to the day, we will be joining forces with the Royal College of Nursing, who have created a major social media campaign #ThisNurse. Our nurses will also be getting involved with local celebrations at North Middlesex and Whittington Health Hospitals.

 

 

 

Jennie Williams, Director of Nursing and Quality

 

How and why did you become a nurse? And can you provide some information on your nursing career?

It was my mum who inspired me to become a nurse. She started her career as a cadet at the age of 16, and trained as a psychiatric nurse in South Wales. I have vivid memories of dressing up in her royal blue dress, crisp white cap and cuffs, and red felt cape. In 1982, at the age of 18, I started my nurse training at University College London, and I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that the uniform of striped dress, long white starched apron, crisp cap and felt navy cape (with red lining) was one of the reasons I chose to apply to UCLH!

On qualifying, I worked as a registered nurse on surgical and orthopaedic wards, and by the age of 24 I was a ward sister on a busy medical ward. After two years I took a secondment as a clinical teacher supporting student nurses on a new part-time nursing course designed to widen access into the profession. In 1990 I trained as a district nurse and secured a post at the Caversham practice in Kentish Town, where I managed a large team of nurses, and multi-disciplinary meetings and integrated care was the norm! I loved this post and I have very fond memories of the patients on my caseload.

After the birth of my first child, I worked as a professional development nurse in Camden, and then I set up the Tissue Viability Service, which covered the boroughs of Camden and Islington. Two children later and a couple of years as a Professional Development Nurse, I secured a job share as Assistant Director of Nursing in Camden and Islington Community Services.

In 2010 I took on the interim role of Executive Nurse at Islington PCT, and completed an MSc in Health Law and Ethics before moving with many colleagues into Whittington Health NHS Trust. This is where I remained until 2013 when I was appointed to Haringey CCG as Director of Quality and Integrated Governance.

I now cover both Haringey and Islington as the Director of Quality and Nursing, and every day is different!

 

What was the most memorable moment from your nursing career?

Lots of memorable moments relating to patients in the main, but a general one that comes to mind is sitting with two nursing colleagues at our graduation ceremony in 2010 and seeing our families smiling in the audience.

 

What do you enjoy most about being a nurse?

When I wrote the application for my current job I said that I felt as passionate about the delivery of high quality care as I did on my first day as a nurse back in 1982. This is the reason I went into nursing (along with the uniform!)

 

Why should people consider a career in nursing?

Nursing is the most wonderful career, and I feel very privileged to be in a job where I can count the days I haven’t wanted to come to work during the last 37 years on one hand.

 

 

 

Lea Ashman, Head of Quality and Improvement

 

How and why did you become a nurse? And can you provide some information on your nursing career?

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do other than travel. My mum, who was a nurse, told me to do nursing as I would have a qualification that would give me job security and would allow me to work in most parts of the world. I originally planned to join the army but they were not recruiting student nurses at that time. I did my nurse training in Bath, which was a great place to learn and I had lots of fun. I worked in Oxford at the John Radcliffe Hospital before moving to London. I have spent most of my career working on medical and surgical wards in acute trusts. I love the pace of the wards and how people, patients, and staff pull together under what can be very difficult and demanding circumstances. You get to meet such a diverse group of people with hugely different physical, psychological, and social needs. No day is the same!

 

What was the most memorable moment from your nursing career?

Jumping between two patients having an argument in the bay, when one pulled out a knife and thinking ‘right what do I do now?' A patient giving me a hug and thanking me for saving his life and promising he wouldn’t drink again. I hope he did it. Volunteering with the Crisis at Christmas healthcare team last year. I could go on I have so many memorable memories.

 

What did you enjoy most about being a nurse?

Some of the characters I have met along the way.

 

Why should people consider a career in nursing?

It's an exciting career with lots of opportunities and there is never a dull movement! There will be highs and lows, but the highs far outweigh the lows, and there is job security. The memories also make nursing an attractive career choice because you have so many!

 

 

 

Christine Dyson, Adult Safeguarding Lead

 

How and why did you become a nurse? And can you provide some information on your nursing career?

I applied to be a health care assistant at the West Cheshire Hospital in 1978. I was interviewed and told I would be doing my training, and I qualified in 1981. I became a nurse because that’s what our family did. My husband, my sisters, and in-laws have more than 400 years of service combined.

 

What was the most memorable moment from your nursing career?

Establishing and being a part of the Royal College of Nursing's practice education forum, and then being elected as the London regional representative for practice education at the Royal College of Nursing. My mother in law started her training 2 years before the inception of the NHS, so we became involved in the history of the nursing forum.

 

What did you enjoy most about being a nurse?

Colleagues who have become great friends. Being able to be with patients at their most vulnerable, and being able to support their recovery. Being a mentor to junior staff, and supporting their development. End of life care is a privilege - something I have been lucky enough to be a part of.

 

Why should people consider a career in nursing?

It offers a variety of roles and opportunities, and no two days are ever the same! You work with people from the cradle to the grave.

 

 

 

 

Lorraine Wiener, Assistant Director of Nursing and Quality

 

How and why did you become a nurse? And can you provide some information on your nursing career?

A boyfriend! He started nurse training and would talk to me about his days at work. I had been working in M & S (ladies knitwear) for nearly a year and was very, very bored. His work sounded exciting and every day different.

My first nurse training was in learning disabilities, followed by mental health, then general nursing before moving into community mental health nursing, and then taking a different route and training as a specialist community practitioner working as a health visitor in primary care.

 

What did you enjoy most about being a nurse?

I am still a registered nurse and bring all my knowledge, skills and experience into my current role in the CCG. I contribute to healthcare by working closely with our providers to ensure services delivered are consistently safe, high quality, and compassionate, so that everyone who receives NHS care has a positive experience.

 

Why should people consider a career in nursing?

Nursing makes a significant contribution to the health and wellbeing of individuals and their families. Nurses are well trained and educated, and opportunities for nurses are wide ranging.