Celebrating our nurses - Rachel Carroll
9 May 2021
We are celebrating our nurses, midwives and operating department practitioners (ODPs) in a two-week long celebration during May that takes in the international recognition days for each profession. Today we're putting the spotlight on our nurses, so it's over to Rachel Carroll to tell us a bit about her role and profession.
Rachel: I honestly can’t remember what initially attracted me to nursing. All I know is that it is what I’ve wanted to do it for as long as I can remember. It’s strange thinking that I picked this career straight out of school at 18, admittedly extremely naive about what the job involved, and yet here I am 6 years later absolutely in love with my job - I feel unbelievably lucky.
I studied for my degree in Children’s Nursing at the University of Leeds. I had my final placement on the ward that I now still work on - Children’s general medicine and special gastroenterology. I loved the ward team and the variety of the patients that we see so much that I chose to begin my career here - I’m still learning every day so I know it’s not quite yet time to move on to somewhere new! I also find it hard to believe that there is a better team of nurses, doctors, Clinical Support Workers, pharmacists etc. than that of the Children’s Medical/Gastro team here at Leeds – so I can’t risk leaving and missing out on being a part of that!
What’s the best thing about being a nurse? There are too many things to name. Seeing children recover. Supporting families at some of the hardest times of their lives. Making babies smile. Doing TikToks with teenagers (I only wish I was joking!) But also I get to work with THE biggest bunch of genuinely caring people - the children’s hospital really is one big team with everybody always jumping at any opportunity to help each other out.
We had to give a lot of reassurance to families that we were doing everything we possibly could to keep them all safe during the Covid pandemic. Lots of families struggled with the reduced visiting so we had to adapt and think of other ways to make sure everyone felt as involved as possible - for example doing video calls with those caregivers who weren’t allowed to stay.
I certainly think that the perception of nurses changed dramatically at the beginning of the pandemic. It seemed that everywhere you went there was a newfound appreciation of nurses - we certainly never used to get clapped every Thursday before the pandemic. I even feel like the families we cared for became so much more appreciative of the little things we do. It really did help brighten everybody’s moods seeing as the only people we were having contact with at that point was those people we saw at work! However I do think that now that the pandemic has continued for over a year, people are tending to revert back to how it was prior to Covid-19.
If you are considering a career in nursing, I would say: Be prepared to smile, laugh, cry and then smile again. Get used to coming home from work feeling utterly drained after giving everything you have to your patients and their families but then get up the next morning wanting to do it all over again.