Some of my earliest memories when attending hospital were when I used to visit Prof Kelly at Birmingham Children's Hospital. These were routine appointments which involved weight, height, vital signs (Blood Pressure, Pulse etc.), basic abdominal examination and bloods. It usually took up the full day so my Mum used to stop off at Toys R Us as a little treat. I never remember complaining about going, partly because I enjoyed watching and engaging with the nurses, doctors and assistants when visiting. They always seemed to look so passionate about what they did and always seemed to strive to deliver the best care.
I don't think I ever had a poor experience as a patient, and always felt valued. It does make a difference in care, when you come across a familiar face, but I do believe that we should all be treated the way we expect ourselves to be. Living with a long term medical condition has definitely helped me become more empathetic towards others when in need. This was noticed by my family and encouraged me to look into studying Nursing.
I passed through clearing and started studying Adult Nursing at Birmingham City University for 3 years. I qualified in 2013 and headed to Torquay to work in the A&E department. This helped me develop my knowledge even further and after just over a year there, I moved home. I knew that having A&E experience under my belt, enabled me to get to my dream job of working with Liver Patients.
I have recently secured a job working on a Liver ward which I'm really looking forward to. I believe I will be able to really empathise with my patients more so than usual as having experienced similar.
Being diagnosed with Liver Disease at a young age was always hard to accept. I always felt very insecure and different to everyone else. I never felt I was able to fit in, so grew up as a shy, timid individual. It did affect me mentally, however without the condition, I'd not have the strength I have today. You could almost say, I'm proud to have Biliary Atresia, and that nothing will change that.
A card received from a student who worked with me only a couple of times last month. What a delight it was to receive that feedback. Maybe I'm doing something right!
Thank you to all nurses, doctors and medical staff who have cared for me all throughout my life. Not forgetting my colleagues and university tutors who have made everything possible for me.
Happy International Nurses Day!