Karen Howell, chief executive of Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, writes for Globe.
IT'S International Nurses Day – a moment for everyone to acknowledge and appreciate the role nurses play in our society.
As a nurse myself, I am incredibly proud of my profession.
This past year has brought home just how valuable our nurses are, right across the NHS.
Karen Howell, chief executive of Wirral CHC NHS Foundation Trust
Whether in our hospitals, or in our communities, nurses see, treat, support and care for people every day and night. From cradle to grave, nurses are there.
Here at Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust nurses working with other clinical professionals, including social care, are at the front of everything we do, working across an incredibly diverse range of specialisms.
Very often nurses working outside of hospital settings are not visible, but they are there working hard across our communities, treating and caring for people and supporting them to live an independent life as well as they can.
As this year's theme for International Nurses Day is -A Voice to Lead' we asked our nurses to use their voice to celebrate the nursing profession, what it means to be a nurse, especially through a pandemic, and why the voice of the nurse is so important Across all nursing disciplines, whether new to nursing or nearing retirement, the voice of our nurses is one to be listened to.
Here are just a few of the Nurse Voices we have captured this week.
To read more, visit our website www.wchc.nhs.uk
Paula Simpson, chief nurse, said: "I've been a nurse in the community now for 30 years and I can honestly say it has been a wonderful career.
"We are welcomed into people's homes and we walk alongside people as partners in their care, sharing joy and pain and this experience forms a family like bond during those periods.
"It's an amazing privilege to be part of people's lives in this way and I feel extremely proud to be a nurse."
Paula Simpson, Chief Nurse. Picture: Christian Smith
Jayne, named nurse for safeguarding children and children looked after: "Nursing is who I am. I am passionate about supporting people’s health needs but also about the NHS as an amazing organisation that is free to all.” Jayne, Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children and Children Looked After.
Jane, Registered Nurse: “I have been a Nurse for 41 years. I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute of my career. Nursing has made me who I am today, with the support and help of all my colleagues over the years.” Jane, Registered Nurse.
Jane, Registered Nurse.
Helen, telehealth nurse: "What it means to me to be a nurse; in just one word: passion. Passion to serve, passion to care and passion to give."
Viv Harrison, retired nurse returned to practice during the pandemic: "I am very proud to say I am a nurse and be able to support in several roles for the NHS during the pandemic.
"I am still as passionate for nursing as I was at the age of 16, when I commenced my nursing career. Once a nurse always a nurse!"
Viv Harrison, retired nurse
To bring to life the amazing work our nurses do, day in day out, here are some messages from our patients and service users. The wonderful feedback our teams regularly receive makes a real difference to our nurses, who continually go above and beyond.
A service user called to thank our South Wirral Community Nurses "from the bottom of his heart."
He was "overwhelmed with how happy and kind all the nurses have been…they have all come with the biggest smile", which he and his wife have "loved seeing" and they "will really miss all the nurses".
He "could not have got better service if he had been a millionaire."
A compliment for the Field Road Community Nurses: "I can honestly say I can't find any negatives about the service you provide. I’m blown away with the professionalism and efficiency."
Feedback for nurse Erica in our GP Out of Hours service: "I want to say a massive thank you, Erica for your kindness, you really went over and above trying to find the best treatment and gave me great confidence.
"Thank you for being so patient and caring, I’m very grateful to you, I just wanted you to know, it really made such a difference."
Making a difference to the lives of people and their families and friends in our communities is what drives our nurses.
Thank you to all the nurses across Wirral, Cheshire and Merseyside and the NHS and partners, who have truly given everything to care for people during the COVID-19 response, and continue to do so. You are all amazing.
This week also marks Dying Matters Awareness Week. This past year has been like no other, and while death and dying is significant no matter when it happens, this year has brought its impact to everyone’s attention.
Colleagues and nurses across our Integrated Specialist Palliative Care and End of Life teams have been using their voice to talk about, ‘Why does dying matter?’ and reflecting on the campaign’s theme this year, around being #InAGoodPlace to die.
Here are some of their thoughts:
Charlotte, clinical nurse specialist: "Talking about death and dying can be very difficult but is meaningful for several reasons. By starting conversations about death and dying empowers patients to express their fears and concerns, enabling them to make plans around what matters to them and to be treated as an individual with dignity and respect".
Charlotte, integrated specialist palliative care and end of life: "Every minute of every day, someone in the world dies.
"It is part of the natural life cycle and yet it can be so emotive for all that are involved. It is important as Health Professionals caring for dying loved ones that we get it right, as we only get one chance to get it right!”