Friday, 30 October 2020

Hospital nurses who like working over Christmas

Hospital nurses who like working over Christmas

TWO NHS nurses in Henley say they will be happy to care for patients over the busy Christmas period instead of having time off.

Angie Porter and Jo Crocker will be working at Townlands Memorial Hospital on both Christmas and Boxing Day.

They will be on duty from 3pm to 11pm on Christmas Day and, apart from a receptionist, will be the only staff present.

Mrs Porter, the clinical lead at the hospital off York Road, has worked at Townlands for 23 years and has run the minor injuries unit for 17 years.

She sees, treats and discharges patients at the unit, which deals with minor wounds, head injuries with no loss of consciousness, broken bones, burns and eye injuries. She can also refer patients to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.

Staff in the unit also cover the out-of-hours GP service in the evenings and at weekends. This can mean dealing with walk-in patients, telephone triage and also home visits as far as Banbury.

The women intend to make work as festive as possible by putting up decorations, a tree and playing Christmas music.

Mrs Porter, 58, who is married with two grown-up children and lives in Sonning Common, said: “We try to work it out fairly between all the staff and tend to do alternate Christmases.

“I like to give the ones with young children Christmas Day off.

“I just love Christmas but I also like the buzz of coming to work on Christmas Day.

“There’s a nice atmosphere and everyone’s really supportive. It’s a lovely hospital to work in.

“I think after 40 years as a nurse it’s part and parcel of the job. My children have grown up with me working it and we just have our Christmas on a different day.

“This year, they are having it without me and will be visiting relatives and we’re having our Christmas on December 27.”

Mrs Porter said Christmas was the hospital’s busiest time of year.

She explained: “Minor injuries tends to be less busy on Christmas Day but busier on Boxing Day when people have got their injuries. People cut themselves with knives carving the turkey.

“Out of hours is busy continuously. It’s only the two of us in the hospital as the rest is closed down.

“We get a lovely hamper from our senior management team, which is always appreciated, and we often get a phone call from the team wishing us ‘merry Christmas’.

“I do find the work rewarding. It’s looking after people and making sure they are safe to get home.

“Most people are quite scared and frightened and it’s reassuring them and seeing them leave knowing we have done something that’s made an impact. I always wanted to be a nurse, my mum was a nurse and my sister’s a nurse — I think it’s a family thing.

“I’ve always wanted to care for and look after people.”

Mrs Porter said she was proud of her staff, adding: “We have been established as a team for some time now.

“They are very dedicated and I’d like to thank them for all the hard work they put in.”

She said their hard work was reflected in the good results of surveys, which use continuous patient feedback to help organisations understand patient experience and outcomes.

Mrs Crocker, 51, who lives near Marlow, is an emergency nurse assistant who has worked at Townlands for five years.

She said: “I have to support the practitioners so I’m in charge of putting all the patients on the computer, triaging the patients as they come in and keeping the waiting times updated.

“I can see patients, I can deal with cuts, I do observations of the patients and I do all the plastering.

“If we’re required to go on home visits then we drive the doctors or practitioners.” Mrs Crocker also orders supplies and is in charge of keeping the unit clean and restocking it.

“I love it, it’s the best job,” she said. “I’ve have done lots of different jobs in the NHS and this is the most interesting role I’ve ever done.

“You see something different every day and you meet all kinds of people.

“You don’t work in the NHS for 32 years just as a job, it’s a vocation and the pay isn’t great. You do it because you love it and this team is amazing to work for.

“Angie is an amazing manager and the unit is run to high standards.

“It’s expected of us that we’ll work at Christmas because we’re open 365 days a year.

“I think you just get into the mindset that if you work somewhere like this that’s part of your job. You wouldn’t be in this job if you didn’t want to do that.

“Christmas Day and Boxing Day are the busiest and we don’t know what’s going to come in.

“It could be broken bones, it could be cuts, it could be burns with people cooking all the time or head injuries with a lot of people slipping on the ice.

“We get a lot of fractures at this time of year, especially in the elderly community.

“Boxing Day is the overspill from Christmas Day and things people won’t leave their home for and that can wait. I don’t think it being Christmas makes it different to any other night.”

Mrs Crocker, who also has two grown-up children, said she would have time to enjoy her Christmas dinner with her family before coming to work on Christmas Day.

She said: “It’s not easy working at Christmas when you know everyone else is at home having a nice time but you think that if someone has come up here on Christmas Day they must really need care because otherwise they wouldn’t have left their families and their enjoyment.”

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