30 Miles Your Way: Meet Our Amazing NHS Nurses
Friday 1st April 2022
Our 30 Miles Your Way challenge is seeing many of you lacing up your running shoes, pumping up those bike tyres, pulling on your swimsuits and getting that scooter out the garage to complete 30 miles in your own unique and special way.
The beauty of 30 Miles Your Way is that it’s a suitable challenge all year round so pick a month that fits in with you and your family and think of an inventive way to complete those 30 miles.
The event, which you can sign up to here, was inspired by our amazing NHS nurses, who at our 10 Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust hospitals walk an average of 30 miles per week.
We spoke to some of them to find out what their inspirational work sees them doing and how all that time on their feet is well spent.
Emma Bird is a Patient Experience and Quality Improvement Facilitator / Junior Sister on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Saint Mary’s Hospital at our Oxford Road Campus.
Emma and the NICU team look after premature babies born from around 23 weeks gestation to term babies who have complications, so there is no such thing as an average day. Emma and her colleagues can be looking after babies needing surgery or even attending a birth to provide emergency care. Many of the births are at very short notice and require the team to be ready for any type of condition whether premature, sick or undiagnosed with a surgical condition.
Emma said: “The nature of what we do means we do have very worried parents and families, so my job is about looking after them as much as treating the babies as well.
“The wide variety means you’re on your feet most of the time. We are a nine-roomed unit with 69 cots so we are often very busy. We also get called to attend births that require neonatal admission and transfers in from other hospitals.
“My Patient Experience and Quality Improvement role includes going to the neonatal units at Wythenshawe Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital. We essentially work as one big neonatal unit to see how we can improve patient experience across Newborn Services.”
Like a lot of nursing staff, Emma’s favourite times are when she is interacting with parents, babies and families – offering care and assurance at what can be a very difficult and emotional time.
She added: “My favourite part of the job is supporting parents and families to be involved in their baby’s care, such as helping them to change their baby’s nappy and supporting them to have skin-to-skin time with their baby. Skin-to-skin is very important for the baby’s development and it’s so rewarding helping to make it happen.
“Another enjoyable part of my job is planning the events we have at Newborn Services, for example marking World Prematurity Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas. I really enjoy seeing how much the cards and gifts we give to families make such a difference to their day. It really makes them smile during a difficult time.”
Emma’s colleague Leah Curley also works on NICU and is a Medical Devices Educator and Risk Management Facilitator / Junior Sister. She too is constantly on her feet, racking up plenty of steps on her shift.
Leah told us: “I do remember one particularly busy day I walked 10,000 steps in four hours, so I wasn’t surprised when I heard that a typical nurse in our organisation walks an average of 30 miles per week.
“I love working with my colleagues – we have a great team here. It’s also lovely when I get to interact with the parents and babies together. I like meeting them all together as a family and being able to offer them something special, like a good piece of news about their baby’s condition or helping them change a nappy.”
A large part of Leah’s job is training staff in clinical areas. There are about 250 staff on the unit and at some point in their careers they will have training and educational needs – for patient safety reasons as well as for professional development.
Leah can be working with staff who have been with the team a while who need training on a particular piece of equipment they’ve just started to use within the service or working with staff who have just started at Saint Mary’s and need to get to know how to use things.
Leah says she is grateful to everyone who takes part in 30 Miles Your Way or anyone who has chosen to support the NHS and our Charity in other ways.
She said: “It’s rewarding coming into work knowing it’s for them [the public]. One person may use our service but that will affect their whole family’s lives. We help all of them, so for them to help us in return is such a huge thing.
“I was using one of the incubators the other day and I noticed a sign saying it had been donated by a family. They should be proud their donation is helping other babies and families. Its humbling to think they made that donation because they’d probably experienced a difficult time themselves.”
Over at our Wythenshawe Hospital site, Kirsty Goodwin is a Paediatric Nurse on Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital’s satellite unit Starlight. Kirsty and the rest of the medical team look after children aged up to 16 years old who have a medical need, have suffered a trauma or need surgery. They also look after young high dependency patients and those with mental health needs.
Kirsty said: “My main activities are looking after poorly children so that can include completing observations, administering medication and of course communicating with the patient and their families. Working alongside our Play Team we use toys to reduce their anxieties and worries and we also look after their hydration and nutritional needs. I’ll also be involved with transferring patients to and from theatre and in their pre and post-op care.”
Some of Kirsty’s main responsibilities are being the Nurse In Charge, responding to any paediatric arrests, taking referrals from GPS, midwives and community nurses, dealing with any complaints and managing the flow of patients coming into and leaving the ward – a busy job where no two days are the same!
But with great responsibility comes great reward, and for Kirsty that is seeing the difference she makes to a young patient. She said: “My favourite part of the job is when I’m able to make a child who has been poorly laugh and smile. Seeing them get better and get discharged home is so rewarding.”
Kirsty would like to thank everyone taking part in 30 Miles Your Way and other fundraising activities for Manchester Foundation Trust Charity.
She said: “I’m very grateful for any support to the NHS. I feel honoured to work for the NHS and seeing the impact it has on patients and their families every day.”
To find our more about 30 Miles Your Way click here.