To celebrate International Nurses Day, Fletchers Solicitors have released interviews with five nurses in their medical team, shining a light on their incredible insights and experiences to paint a picture of what it means to be a nurse today.
The nurses revealed their motivations behind their career choice. Many had the desire to help others from a young age but others, like Emma Marchbank, had been impacted by their own experiences later in life, who said: ‘I became a nurse because my mum became ill and needed surgery to remove her thyroid. She was in hospital for over two weeks due to complications and the nursing staff were just wonderful and always busy, run off their feet. I actually got a work experience placement on the ward where my mum had her surgery and this helped me to progress to get a job in the hospital I wanted.’
As emotionally challenging as the life of a nurse is, it certainly is a rewarding role. Debbie Moss found her time working in a prison and a dementia home the most fulfilling, commenting: ‘From a patient improvement point of view, I found offender health very rewarding as this was an area of healthcare that had the least previous uptake. From a heartstrings point of view, it has to be managing a large dementia home. I loved every minute of the challenges that brought and the rewards emotionally were amazing.’
Describing her most rewarding role, Elaine Wright said: ‘Probably end of life nursing. To be with a patient at the last stages of their life, often when they have no one and no relatives are present.’
Tracey Jacques found midwifery to be her calling, explaining the highs and lows of the job: ‘All aspects of midwifery are rewarding, but the highlight is obviously providing care to the woman and her family in labour. Handing that newborn to a woman still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
‘Without a doubt, the downside to being a midwife is having to care for women whose babies have died in utero, especially a term pregnancy. The word “midwife” actually means “with woman” and, in this situation, our role has never been so significant. You usually find that it is these women and their families who are the most grateful for the care and compassion showed to them at the most awful times of their lives.’
The nurses currently work with Fletchers Solicitors and guide the legal team on nursing standards and patient care. The team have experience in many sectors, making them equipped for the vast range of case types they handle on a daily basis. The five nurses specialise in areas such as dementia, end of life care, midwifery, and surgery.
They use their nursing experience to help Fletchers’ clients in pursuing legal action when they have been wrongfully injured – a job that many people may not be aware exists. Emma explained her role: ‘I use my skills to help solicitors find a breach of care and any causation issues. I then use my knowledge to paginate the records for them so that an expert can look at these to see if there is a breach of care. I can read the writing of most doctors and decipher charts and risk assessments.’
Jennifer McAdam’s nursing career, combined with an upsetting medical negligence incident close to home, led to her current position on Fletchers Solicitors’ legal team. She shared: ‘The cases I see at Fletchers are so varied and interesting. I can see from my own hospital experience how failures in care have happened.
‘I also have personal experience of being on the other side when my dad went to Accident and Emergency after a collapse. He had been in a lot of pain with a dental abscess and they just put it down to this and discharged him with painkillers. We took him back the day after. He had suffered a haemorrhagic stroke, and I’ll never forgive myself for not demanding they do a CT scan on him. So, I guess that’s one of the reasons I’m here now.
‘I care a lot about people and, to me, I still feel I am helping a lot of people, like my dad, by getting answers and by holding people accountable for their actions to ensure that lessons are learnt and practice is questioned, challenged, and changed for the benefit of everybody.’
The fact that the nurses work with Fletchers Solicitors means that the solicitors are able to bring informed legal cases from a medical standpoint and understand patient needs in full.