A day in the life: Private Care nursing

Sarah Barwell, Senior Staff Nurse, Private Patient Medical Day Unit in Chelsea

I usually get into work early – just after 7.30am – so I can put the kettle on and check that the night staff are okay. First thing in the morning can be the busiest time for them especially if patients are arriving for surgery, if they need extra help I’m on hand to offer my support.

As a Senior Staff Nurse I am responsible for ensuring that my colleagues are equipped with the information, skill and support required to deliver a high standard of care. Therefore, at the start of each shift I look at the skills and experience of the nurses and allocate appropriate work loads. When I’m in charge of a shift I will be the named nurse of only one or two patients. This ensures that I have time to support and co ordinate my team; in this role it’s essential to look beyond my own clinical practice and consider how my team, as a whole, is performing on a day to day basis.

A large part of my role involves the sharing of information between the multidisciplinary teams. Each day a bed board meeting occurs between the nurse in charge, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and discharge team to discuss how best to meet the needs of our patients. In these meetings I’m a spokesperson for our patients; I must understand their needs and most importantly their wishes. The doctors ward rounds happen throughout the day and wherever possible I join them when they review patients, enabling me to discuss the nurses concerns, answer questions, and hear first hand the plan of care.

As a senior staff nurse I remain very much hands on in the clinical environment. Each day I am privileged to care for individuals who show remarkable strength and courage; hear their stories and help wherever possible to make this experience more bearable. I love the challenge of my role and the continual learning that this involves.

I genuinely love the work I do and find it extremely rewarding. I work with brilliant people whose enthusiasm, humour and commitment help get me through the hardest shifts.

Hannah Walsh, Senior Staff Nurse, Robert Tiffany Ward