International Nurses Day – Kyle Carabini
12th May 2023
Each year, International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world on 12th May – the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
It is lead by the International Council of nurses, which represents millions of nurses across the globe. The 2023 theme is “Our Nurses. Our Future”. So we spoke to one of our own nurses, Kyle Carabini, who works on the Renal Ward at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
Tell us about becoming a nurse…
I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was five years old. When you’re little you think of stereotypes and you believe nurses are women and doctors are men. But then I was watching the TV programme Casualty and saw a male nurse on there – I was so excited to know I could be a nurse and I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do.
I think what has always appealed to me is the patient relationship and being able to look after people, so when I was 16 I left school and got a job as a care assistant in a nursing home. That confirmed things for me. I then started my university course at 18 and since then nursing is all I’ve done.
When I started in the care home I signed up to a nursing agency and started doing hospital shifts to prepare to start as a student nurse. I first started in renal as a student nurse and stayed on as a support worker throughout my training. Then I left renal and went to work in sexual health and worked for 16 months at Salford Royal. I then advanced to a junior specialist nurse, then a HIV research nurse then a specialist nurse again and then I was a sexual health advisor. I was then a nurse manager over at Hathersage then Covid happened and I got redeployed to one of the Covid wards that Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) was running.
I ended up working on a lot of different Covid wards and then went back to sexual health for a short time after Wave One, then I came back as a ward manager during Covid Wave Two. Throughout 2020 I spent 11 months managing the Altrincham Dialysis Unit. So since that time I’ve been the Ward Manager and worked a number of different wards, but came to the Renal Ward at Manchester Royal Infirmary in March 2021 and been here ever since.
Apart from the short time at Salford, I’ve always worked at MFT and I don’t ever envision myself leaving Manchester Royal Infirmary. The patients we see, the fact it’s near to my home and the staff I work with are all really great for me. Everyone is a big team, everyone works together well and there is a really good culture here. I also feel really supported by my managers.
There is something special about Renal – both the staff and the patients – and I have a real sense of belonging. We get to know patients really well as sadly a lot of them are with us long term. Some patients will be with us for months at a time and often they’ll be treated throughout their lifetimes, so they will have periods in and out of hospital.
With the Renal Ward you end up looking after lots of different care aspects – you’ll see people at the start of their journey, going through to being better. And unfortunately sometimes you do see people not get better and they pass away here. Obviously you don’t want anyone to pass away. It’s not an aspect of the job any of us enjoys. But when you know someone has had a comfortable death and they’ve passed away peacefully and with dignity, we are happy with that outcome and so are the family. Unfortunately death is a big part of nursing, whatever type of nursing you do.
What is your favourite part of the job?
In the role I’m in now, it is seeing people achieve and progress in their careers. We have lots of international nurses on the ward – about 15 of our 20 nursing staff have come from different countries – and seeing them come to a new country and a different culture of nursing and adapting really well is very rewarding. They become absolutely amazing and seeing them progress is one of my favourite things.
The other good part of my role is when you receive feedback from families and patients which makes the harder days worthwhile. You don’t do a job like nursing for the thanks, and Renal Ward can be a challenging ward at times, but when someone says “thank you” and when you’re able to achieve positive results for someone, that is rewarding. Receiving a message from a relative of a patient is really special.
Do you think an awareness day like International Nurses Day is important?
I do think it is right to show recognition of the part nurses play. And I think the “international” part of it is important too – our team has nurses from all over and I think MFT probably has nurses from almost every country in the world, so as a hospital and as a Trust we are indebted to these nurses. Some people come here and leave family behind, so that must be really difficult. I would never leave Manchester but they leave their home country and set up a completely new life here and learn about different ways of working and different cultures.
We’ve really seen a hard time over the last few years, but it must have been particularly tough for people whose loved ones were in countries far away.
I think our patients are very grateful to nurses. As long as they’re receiving the care they deserve, where they come from doesn’t matter.
A thanks from Jo….
One grateful patient of the Renal Ward is Jo Walton, who was treated by Kyle and his team earlier this year (2023). Jo spent 15 days on the ward after being diagnosed with GPA Vasculitis – a rare blood condition in which the immune system attacks itself. Jo’s case is rarer still, as the condition affects both her small and large blood vessels, which can make finding a vein difficult.
When Jo was at her lowest and didn’t believe she would walk out of the ward, Kyle assured her she would get better. He took care of her from the moment she arrived, even making sure she could remain in the same bed, near a window, so that she could have a view outside.
Jo’s lasting memory of Kyle was when he was called to help fit a cannula to Jo’s hand while others were struggling due to Jo’s small veins.
“I was in tears while the nurses were trying to get blood. They told me if they couldn’t find a vein, they were going to have to put a line into my neck – that scared the life out of me because it would have to be done under anaesthetic,” said Jo, who is 54.
After struggling for a while, the nurses called for Kyle, who was about to finish his shift before going on leave. He promised Jo that he would get the cannula in her hand for her so that she didn’t have to be anaesthetised.
“He said ‘I promise I won’t hurt you’ and he didn’t. I said ‘thank you’ and he just said ‘it’s ok, it’s my pleasure’. He has a really fantastic bedside manner. I’m welling up now just thinking back to it.”
We asked Jo if she had a message for the team of Ward 7. She replied: “A big, huge thank you and lots of kisses. I can’t thank that ward enough – from when I went in, I felt safe, I had confidence in the people looking after me and that’s so important. It was an overwhelming, truly humbling experience. I am so lucky and so blessed to have a second chance at life, but I wouldn’t have it without Ward 7.”
Jo has been so thankful for the care she received on Ward 7, she has made a donation to our Charity. We’re so grateful to Jo and people like her who choose to support the hospital where they’ve received care. If you’d like to make a donation, you can do so quickly and simply using our donation form.