Nurses Sammy Concannon and Kylie Riley, both from Carlisle, have recently started their careers in Cumbria after qualifying this summer. They’ve shared their journey so far:
Kylie, community nurse at Carlisle Healthcare, Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT)
Sammy, Emergency Admissions Unit (EAU) at the Cumberland Infirmary, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust (NCUH)
Why did you decide to go into nursing?
Kylie: I previously worked as a health care assistant for a private company and then for the community nursing team in Carlisle and I loved it. I wanted to do more and keep developing my skills so studying nursing felt like a natural progression.
Sammy: My Grandma was a nurse for many years so when I finished school and didn’t know what to do next she suggested nursing. At the time I didn’t follow her advice and studied a degree in forensic science – but I haven’t used it since. I worked in a residential home which I really enjoyed and after having my little boy I revaluated what I wanted out of life and decided to go back to university to study nursing.
Why did you choose Cumbria?
Sammy: Studying in Cumbria is great. The lecturers are fantastic and the class sizes are small so you’re not just a number – they know everyone individually. We’ve been well looked after, both at university and in the workplace, be that academic advice or support from tutors, course mates and colleagues. You never feel daft asking for help and we have made friends for life through the course.
Kylie: Cumbria is safe with a real community feel and very friendly people. We have the beautiful Lake District and several students on our course used a walk in the lakes to help them relax after a stressful shift.
Why did you choose to work in community nursing/EAU?
Sammy: I work best under pressure. I wanted to work somewhere fast paced and wanted to give EAU/A&E a try. I like to quickly learn new skills and work with people with lots of different conditions. You never really know what’s going to happen on a shift so there is no typical day and I’ve already learnt so much.
Kylie: I like the variety that community nursing brings and was really pleased to come back to the same team I worked in as a health care assistant. Working with people in their own homes means that you get to know them and their families really well. You have time to build up relationships with them in what can be really difficult times, such as end of life.
What are the highlights so far?
Sammy: I love it. I never wake up and dread going to work, I always look forward to it. It’s nice to see the same patients and see them get better.
This summer NCUH ran a pre preceptorship programme for newly qualified nurses to help with the transition from university. We spent time at West Cumberland Hospital and Cumberland Infirmary to develop clinical skills and ease us into the workplace. At university you do six placements and while we learned a lot, there’s still lots more to learn on the job so this was a brilliant opportunity.
Kylie: Nursing changes the way you think about things, it makes you more understanding and helps you to see the bigger picture. It is hard work but your efforts don’t go unnoticed and it’s so rewarding when you get a thank you from a patient or their family and you know you’ve made a difference.
What advice would you give to someone else considering nursing?
Kylie: I think doing care work first is really helpful to start developing some key skills and get a good idea of what’s involved. Communication skills are really important, you need to be able to build up rapport with patients and talk to them about anything and everything.
Sammy: I’d say prepare for hard work. It’s a full time degree with lots of academic work as well as placements and it can be hard juggling that with family life. You do it because you love it.
What are your plans for the future?
Sammy: Its early days and I just want to learn as much as I can. I’m on a six month rotation between A&E and EAU which means I’ll get experience in two different teams in my first year. There’s lots of development opportunities available to help us develop more skills in our current roles or progress to the next level at some point in the future.
Kylie: I think it’s good that the two trusts are coming together and think it will bring more opportunities for work across different sites. I’m really interested in cancer care and with the development of the new cancer centre at the Cumberland Infirmary it would be great if any joint working opportunities across community services arise in the future.