Medigold Health is a clinically led organisation from the top down. Over the last 20 years, our business has grown significantly and yet we have managed to maintain our standards and integrity. This comes down to our greatest assets, our people.
We are incredibly proud to have such a fantastic team of nurses and in celebration of International Nurses Day 2019, we would like to introduce you to our Clinical Liaison Director, Helen Vickers who has been an instrumental part of the Medigold Health team since 2007.
When and why did you decide to start nursing?
I was 19 when I considered being a nurse, although I wasn’t completely sure right up until the point of my interview in front of a panel. As a child I never wanted to go into nursing I would be the child who couldn’t bare the sight of blood or was sick in sympathy with others, but this all changed when my mother became unwell. I was the eldest child and when my mother was ill, I looked after her and sadly, she became very poorly, very quickly and passed away after 12 weeks. It was at my interview in front of the panel when I was asked why I wanted a career in nursing that I knew I wanted to be a nurse, so that I could give people the care they deserve and that to the best of my ability people in my care would be treated with respect and dignity.
What was your first post as a nurse?
My first post in the hospital was in ENT surgical theatre as a scrub nurse and I kicked off my career with a bang after fainting while attending my first tonsillectomy.
When and why did you decide that you wanted to move over to occupational nursing?
During my years of working in the NHS, I felt very restricted with budget cuts and continual pressures, I felt that I had to fight every day to be the nurse that I wanted to be, and my patients deserved. I wanted to move to a model, which suited my nursing style and allowed different areas of focus with quality of care and service at the top of the list.
What are the biggest challenges or issues that nurses face today?
I think the biggest challenge for nurses is that everywhere is understaffed they face mental and physical abuse that is directed at them which is unfair and unacceptable. I also think that there is a lack of awareness regarding career choices for nurses, I think that there is an assumption that nurses move over to occupational healthcare when they feel that they can no longer physically work for the NHS which is most definitely not the case and we would love to see more junior nurses training in occupational healthcare.
How do you feel nursing has evolved through the years?
I think nurses have so many more responsibilities now for their patients and their own professional development. Senior roles have become less hands-on and more managerial. However, I do feel like some aspects of nursing have gone full circle, for example, we are returning to matrons running wards and more hands-on training. In the private sector of OH we need nurses at the top in managerial and Director roles to ensure clinical input from the start when advising and supporting new clients.
As a nurse, are you ever really off duty?
No, I think you are always on duty, I think that if you have trained, as a nurse, you have far more public awareness and it is your duty to support or intervene.
Do you have a favourite or memorable moment of your career that sticks with you?
During my time as a nurse working in the maxillofacial department, I was involved in the care of a very poorly gentleman, who had a large tumour in his mouth, which resulted in many reconstructive surgeries over 3 years. He overcame all odds, never complaining, and once he was well he returned to the hospital to invite us all round to his house for tea to show his appreciation. The care he received from the entire Team helped him face years of recovery.
Would you encourage others to have a career in Nursing?
Yes without hesitation, I would encourage people to choose a career in nursing, my daughter is a paediatric nurse and whilst she finds it frustrating, it is an incredibly rewarding career. There are so many different areas you can work in as a nurse and nurses who have broad experience, can deal with any situation and are confident in their knowledge make fantastic Occupational Health Nurses.
All of us here at Medigold Health would like to thank all nurses for the amazing work they do, if it is as a Medigold Health employee, a Mental health nurse, or an A&E nurse, whatever nurse you are we would like to show our appreciation for your commitment to keeping people safe and well in life.