Today was my first day ‘Back to the floor‘ at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Hospital Trust.
Being in a town in the North West that I’ve never been to before is a challenge in itself, finding my way to the hospital which the concierge at the hotel said was only a mile away was a bigger challenge.
Having walked around in a circle for about 10 minutes, and getting increasingly hot and bothered, I asked a man to direct me, I was instantly comforted by the sound and tone of his voice, his accent sounded like Karen’s. “Follow me pet” he said, and this I gratefully did. In the event the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary was only a short walk away.
On entering the hospital, I asked the receptionist to direct me to The Trust headquarters; Carolyn Powell a volunteer at the hospital, immediately got up from her seat, donned her coat and said she’d take me. I was really impressed by this kind and thoughtful gesture; she could have just pointed in the general direction of HQ. This was a really great start, it couldn’t have been any better. I remembered reading Sophie’s (My colleague at the Academy’s) account of her time spent in Leeds FT and thought if my visit was half as good I’d be happy.
As we approached headquarters a very glamorous woman (she was wearing a beautiful Monsoon skirt, one that I coveted and thought about buying earlier in the year) walked up behind us and asked if I was Yvonne, “I recognise you from your picture” she said. Amanda Cheeseman, Head of Professional Practice and my hostess for the week also was warm and very welcoming (northern women are very kind and extremely friendly).
Amanda had gone the extra mile for me, organising and preparing my agenda for the week, not always an easy task. We hit it off immediately and I knew I was going to enjoy my week with Amanda, like me, is a Health Visitor and we had a lot to talk about. We talked about my expectations of the week and generally got to know each other over a cup of tea. I was really touched when Amanda said that she had arranged for me to have a security pass for the four days I would be in Wigan because she wanted me to feel part of the team. She also said she was going to take me to the sewing room to sort out a uniform for me, I couldn’t believe it. We decided that I would wear the colours of senior nurses in the organisation (purple). In the event, the sewing room did not have a spare uniform but Linda Barkess-Jones Associate Director of infection prevention and control kindly loaned me one of her uniforms and thankfully it fit. What I didn’t bargain on was how putting on a nursing uniform again would make me feel. I was so proud to be back in uniform and realised in an instant that no matter what role I am in, first and foremost I am a nurse.
Linda then showed me round some of the wards in the hospital, I must say that I was really impressed with everything and everyone I saw, each and every member of staff was friendly and welcoming and that is no exaggeration. Linda and I discovered that we had trained in the same year and that we had similar thoughts about many things, mainly to do with nursing and nurses. She is an amazing woman, what she doesn’t know about infection control and prevention isn’t worth knowing, every hospital in the land could do with a Linda Barkess-Jones.
What impressed me most were the relationships that Linda clearly had with the ward sisters and other colleagues, she was obviously well respected and well liked. I was doubly impressed when Linda went up to a Dr and reminded him that he hadn’t cleaned his hands after seeing a patient. He took the admonishment in good grace.
The morning whipped by in a flash and I was back at Trust Headquarters where Amanda was waiting for me, we then travelled to the Wrightington hospital site, Wrightington a hospital that carries out Elective orthopaedic surgery. The pace of the hospital was slower but the staff just as warm and welcoming.
Anita Baker (not the singer) Quality and Safety Matron and Sean Jackson, Specialist Services Matron were fabulous, they showed me around their hospital with pride. I was especially taken with the Energising for excellence boards outside each ward which highlighted the high quality of care on the ward in terms of no complaints over a 6 month period, no falls and no complaints, but also the numerous compliments received from patients.
I felt really privileged to be with these hardworking and professional nurses who were kind enough to give up their time to show me around and explain how their hospital worked as well as it did.
I have always known that nursing staff in the NHS are wonderful but after only 1 day with my peers in Wigan it reiterated for me how very special our nurses are. They should be appreciated cherished and applauded for what they do, day in and day out for patients.
Nurses of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, I look forward to tomorrow and being part of your excellent team for the rest of this week.
[Photo: Sean Jackson, Specialist Services Matron and Anita Baker, Quality and Safety Matron Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Hospital Trust ]