The Royal Marsden

A day in the life of: Sojan Varghese, Staff Nurse

In Dubai I worked in the medical and surgical unit, but The Royal Marsden offered me the chance to work in the Critical Care Unit (CCU), with full induction and training.
Sojan Varghese, Staff Nurse

Sojan Varghese, Staff Nurse in the Critical Care Unit

I started working at The Royal Marsden in January. I was based in Dubai before, although I’m originally from India. When I completed my IELTS English language qualification, I applied for jobs in the UK. I was attracted by the good career prospects, the respect and recognition you get for the job here, and the UK’s values and living conditions.

I chose to come to The Royal Marsden because it had some of the highest ratings from patients and staff on review websites. In Dubai I worked in the medical and surgical unit, but The Royal Marsden offered me the chance to work in the Critical Care Unit (CCU), with full induction and training.

Support to move

The HR team made it very easy for me to come over. They picked me up from the airport and arranged my accommodation. I had to quarantine for two weeks because of COVID-19, but they provided me with groceries and a SIM card so I could call my family. They were always checking to see if I needed anything, and were really helpful and caring.

I had a full orientation from The Royal Marsden’s nurse educators. New international nurses shadow staff nurses on the wards until they complete the OSCE examination – a practical assessment you have to pass before registering with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. I was working on Burdett Coutts, the male ward, so I had contact with patients and got to know the routine.

Everyone here is really friendly. If you don’t know something, they’ll always help and won’t judge you. It’s great for someone who’s learning.

Every Monday, we had the OSCE ‘boot camp’ with other staff preparing for the exam, to discuss what we’d learned and practise together. I felt really well prepared when I took the exam in March, and passed with no problems.

Sojan Varghese, Staff Nurse in the Critical Care Unit - providing treatment wearing PPE

One-to-one care

I’m now working in the CCU. We do long shifts, from 8am to 8:30pm. There is one nurse for every patient, who may be very sick or recovering from surgery. When I get in, I’ll take a handover, then introduce myself to the patient and check if they need anything immediately. If not, we’ll go through observations.

My main responsibility is monitoring the patients 24/7, checking for any fluctuations in their vital signs. Patients might be under anaesthesia, or could be confused. I make sure their needs are met and that they’re getting medications, fluids and food.

During the pandemic, the standard of care didn’t change, but we did introduce COVID-19 swabs for patients and stopped visits to keep people safe. Patients can become anxious or depressed, so we offer psychological support and help them keep in touch with their families.

Patients here try to do everything for themselves, and when they can’t they apologise for asking you to help them. But I don’t feel as though I’m working for them – I’m always glad to help.