The 70th birthday of the NHS is on 5 July and as part of the celebration mother and daughter Elaine Edwards, Macmillian lead nurse for palliative and end of life care and Rhiannon Edwards, emergency department staff nurse, both at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (SASH) share some of their experiences of working at the NHS and what inspired them to work in healthcare.
Elaine, who trained as a nurse at the Mid-Downs health authority, Wealden college for nurses in Crawley in 1990, qualified in 1993 and has had a long career in the NHS working in acute medicine and gynaecology said: “I have enjoyed all of my roles but my heart and passion has always been palliative and end of life care. The trust I was working for merged with East Surrey to form SASH and I joined SASH as a clinical nurse specialist in 2004 and became the lead nurse for palliative and end of life care in 2013.
“During the time I have worked at the NHS, I have seen the positive impact that developments in technology, medicine and services provide to patients. I feel immensely proud of the work that we do here to provide the best support and care to patients and their families.
“I love my job and I feel so proud that my daughter has followed the same career path. I would advise anyone who is considering a career in nursing that it is very rewarding job and you really can make a difference.”
Elaine’s daughter Rhiannon who trained as a nurse joined SASH in 2012 said; “I always knew that I wanted to do a job where I would have the opportunity to help others, I had not considered becoming a nurse but was inspired to become a nurse when I saw my mum save someone’s life”.
“In 2006, when I was 11 years old, I witnessed my mum resuscitate a young man who had collapsed and gone into cardiac arrest in our local shopping centre. I was absolutely amazed and remember thinking, wow, she’s a real hero and I wondered how she knew exactly what to do. At such a young age, I was not aware how serious the situation was and I felt pure admiration for the fact that my mum had saved someone’s life with her own hands.
“It still fills me with pride to know the gentleman survived and is living a normal life. My mum gave his family their husband, dad, son, back and I could not have been more proud.
“When I qualified as a nurse, I was lucky enough to get a job in the Emergency Department at East Surrey Hospital. I am so very honoured to work with an amazing team of nurses, doctors, portering staff and administrative staff. Working with such an incredible team makes the inevitably hard days in a very busy A&E, so much easier. I love my job, I love my team and I am very fortunate to do the job that I do.
“I would strongly encourage anyone who wishes to have a career in the NHS. Being part of the NHS family makes you realise, just how unbelievably lucky we are to have a system like the National Health Service.”