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HRCH celebrates International Nurses' Day

Members of our community nurse team

International nurses day (IND) is celebrated around the world every 12th May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.

To commemorate this day, we are showcasing the work of our dedicated and talented nursing staff by featuring a days in the life of a selection of our nurses. 

Director of quality & clinical excellence, Siobhan Gregory says: " HRCH is blessed to have so many fabulous people working here who often rise above adversity to provide the best care.  I'd like to say a huge personal thank you from me and the trust’s board of directors to all our nurses for being you!     


A day in the life of:

Diabetes nurse Helen

Name: Helen Church 

Title: Lead Diabetes Specialist Nurse 

Location: Teddington Memorial Hospital  

Length of service at HRCH: Nine years 

I qualified in 1983 in Gloucester after three very happy years of being a relatively carefree student nurse with aspirations to become a specialist nurse. Not in Diabetes, I hasten to add but in Gynaecology – a far cry from mastering insulin to carbohydrate ratios and multi-function blood glucose meters and apps!

At that time I didn’t see nursing as a vocation but now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!

I can honestly say I always look forward to coming to work and seeing what the day holds. That is what attracted me to nursing – knowing two days would never be the same and having the satisfaction that comes with making a difference to patients comfort, health and wellbeing  (made all the better by the regular ward rounds to treat pressure areas  and offering patients a mouthwash in my early nursing days. The smell of Johnson’s baby powder is still with me after all this time! )

I went on to become one of the first practice nurses and enjoyed every minute of it!

That is until I decided to do a diabetes diploma and met a lecturer who was one of the first patients to have an insulin pump. She inspired me with her enthusiasm and knowledge and I came away with a desire to specialise in diabetes and supported by a wonderful GP I began to initiate insulin in Primary Care. A Diabetes Specialist Nurse position then beckoned and after a number of years specialising, I joined HRCH in 2007.

Since being at HRCH new opportunities and support from management has allowed me to extend my leadership and practical skills and become a non-medical prescriber, working  with commissioners and allied healthcare providers to ensure higher standards of diabetes care both for patients in hospital and in the community.

I am very lucky to work with a hardworking enthusiastic team who share my passion for delivering the highest standards of evidence based care for our patients which result in the best possible outcomes and patient experience.

My role has its challenges but is so rewarding and I love being able to make a real difference to patients under my care.

Roll on the next ten years with exciting new advances in the world of diabetes and HRCH!

Immunisation nurse Sheila

Name: Sheila Roberts

Title: Immunisation Lead 

Location: Brentford Health Centre 

Length of service at HRCH: Eight years 

At HRCH I lead a team of bank nurses who, like myself, are trained in the administration of immunisations. We carry out immunisation programmes for school-age children, both as part of the national childhood immunisation programme and in response to local outbreaks of diseases such as measles or meningitis. I am governed by NHS England and Public Health England who inform me of the planned programmes that are to take place. Any disease outbreak needs to be addressed before it becomes an epidemic. When there is an outbreak of a disease my team will be informed and sent directly to the schools to offer an urgent response. We will offer a vaccination to anyone who may need it in order to contain the illness. One of the issues with immunisation is that we have to immunise as many people as possible in a group who are linked to an outbreak to protect the few people who can’t have vaccinations. 

During times when vaccination programmes are not running, a large part of my role involves ensuring that all team members are competent to practise by checking that all of their training and development is up to date. I work very closely with the school nurse teams and health visitors. I could not fulfill my role without the fantastic administrative support that I receive. 

My role requires lots of knowledge, communication and a good sense of humour. I enjoy and have fun talking to and helping young people to make informed decisions. This year was the first year we have administered the flu vaccine in schools. It was a delight working with the five-seven year olds, and amazing to hear how much they knew and wanted to know. 

I have have realised that immunisation is not compulsory, it is a choice. Everyone is allowed to have their opinion. This taught me to never be too proud to take a step back and look at life and work from someone elses perspective. 

What I am most proud of is that last year, together with four school nurse colleagues, I won a competition in our trust to make an innovative proposal. Our proposal was to develop an interactive application (app) for mobile phones to enable young people to contact their school nurse confidentially or find appropriate researched information to support their individual need, or both.”

District nurse Sade

Name: Sade Ajayi  

Title: District Nurse Team Leader, Integrated Community Response Service 

Location: Heart of Hounslow Centre for Health  

Length of service at HRCH: 16 years 

“I have been a nurse for 19yrs. From a very young age I had a desire to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I also loved to travel and as my Dad worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) at the time, I had the opportunity to work with him, after finishing University.  

I ended up traveling to Sri-Lanka, Mombasa and Kenya on missions and doing NGOs at the time I was working in Queen Charlotte’s Hospital. 

I have been with HRCH for 16 years now.  

I like the fact that no two days are the same in my personal and humble opinion I think nursing is one of the best careers  of all times. One can diversify into other careers and still be a nurse, it’s a skill you can use anywhere across the world, plus it’s a very innovative career that teaches you many transferable skills.  

 I like the fact that as a nurse I had the opportunity to broaden my skillset and network with other allied health care professionals. I am currently working in a multidisciplinary team which has enabled me to further develop my professional skills and as a team we learn from each other. 

Also I am now an independent nurse prescriber which is one of the highlights of my career and I would love to continue learning new skills and help up and coming nurses into this role.” 

Healthcare assistant, Anthony

Name: Anthony McCarthy 

Title: Health Care Assistant, Continence Service 

Location: Teddington Memorial Hospital

Length of service at HRCH: 20 years 

“I have been working for the NHS for the last 20 years. When I first joined it was known as Hounslow and Spelthorne NHS and then later changed to Hounslow Primary Care Trust and now current Hounslow and Richmond community Healthcare NHS Trust.

I started work as admin support for the health visiting team based at Heston Centre which I done for approximately two years.

I then joined the continence team based at Heart of Hounslow Hospital as administrator overseeing incoming deliveries and arranging home deliveries.

I later joined the clinical development team and fulfilled a dual role overseeing pre-registration for students and being an administrator for GP Appraisals, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  However, I missed the face to face contact while delivering patient care and found myself back working with the continence team.

I have seen a lot of changes throughout the years and have been fortunate to have worked alongside such wonderful staff members past and present.  Those are the very people through their encouragement and support who have made me the person I am today and made me proud to be a part of the NHS.

I can safely say there is no aspect to my job I don’t enjoy, apart from times when we can’t always get it right.”