Lingfield nurse reveals what it’s like to care for some of the sickest patients at East Surrey Hospital

December 6, 2017
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A Lingfield nurse who cares for some of the sickest patients at East Surrey Hospital has revealed what it’s like to work as a critical care nurse.

Claire Rowley is lead nurse for critical care at the hospital in Redhill , spends a lot of her time at work caring for patients after they have been through life-threatening emergencies and surgeries.

She is often faced with the harrowing task of telling a family that life support systems can not do much more for their loved one, and while most of us are tucked up in bed, she could well have to rush to a patient’s bedside at the beck and call of the hospital’s emergency pager system.

Ms Rowley’s team was recently given a special award to recognise the hard work, which she described as “intense but immensely rewarding”.

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“Our work is essentially delivering intensive care outside of the intensive care ward,” she explained.

“Our time is spent caring for the sickest patients in the hospital, helping to either get them well enough to go home or, in some cases, to put a plan in place to prevent them from deteriorating.

“All of my patients are classed as high-dependency, which includes people using life-support systems.

“In some cases, we do have to tell families that a decision has been made to either move a patient up to intensive care or to let them know the life support system can’t do much more for their loved one.

Claire Rowley (centre) receiving her award

Claire Rowley (centre) receiving her award
(Image: Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust)

“When someone is critical sadly there will be different courses of action depending on whether they are relatively young with one health problem, or 96 with numerous health problems.

“In any situation, understanding and respecting the patient’s individual wishes is vital.

“The job is definitely intense but also immensely rewarding.”

Ms Rowley has worked in hospitals for 20 years and explained how her team of just 19 people manages to cover the whole hospital.

East Surrey Hospital’s main entrance
(Image: David Cook)

She said: “There are nine nurses and ten physiotherapists on the team, and we cover all of the wards which makes about 600 beds in total.

“When a ward nurse thinks a patient may need us, she can send an emergency bleep on the pager system which will come through to us and we can either advise her over the phone or head to the ward in person depending on what is safest and most efficient in that situation.

“We also do something called an emergency safety huddle, which happens seven days a week at 9am.

“This is a multi-disciplinary meeting where people from different departments who will be able to deal with emergencies that day meet up to allocate roles and identify any training that needs doing that day.”

Because of the hard work and dedication of the critical care team, Ms Rowley and her colleagues were awarded with the frontline team of the year prize at the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust’s SASH Star Awards in November.

“I am the lead for the team, but I think it is because we work together so closely that we’ve earned this,” Ms Rowley added.

“The team all work so hard and it’s definitely teamwork that has got the service to where it is now.

“It was just lovely to know that we had been nominated for this award because there is quite a small team of us covering the whole hospital – to be recognised for our productivity and care was absolutely wonderful and I felt so proud of every member of my team.

“I absolutely love what I do and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from my work.”

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/lingfield-nurse-reveals-what-its-13992167


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