As we celebrate Nurses Day today, it is an excellent time to stop and reflect on the many lives that will have been touched by all the nurses we employ at Health Partners.
Chris Rhodes, Chief Nursing Officer at Health Partners, says: “In all areas of OH, whether this is working onsite with a client or remote case management, our nurses continue to make a real difference to people day in and day out.
“Whilst we cannot always see this impact, the incredible feedback from clients and client employees reminds us of how careful, empathetic and evidence-based nursing helps people thrive in work and be their best.”
There are so many staff and stories from over the years that we could feature, but we wanted to share two personal stories from our extraordinary team of OH nurses who have worked for us for many years.
Stephanie Reid (nee Wilson)
“I was brought up in a very small town in Lancashire. My mum was the local midwife, so I had an insight into nursing and decided that was the career for me. After school I started my SRN nurse training at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
“Once qualified I did an Accident and Emergency course and took up a post as a staff nurse in Casualty. This was something of an eye opener for me entering the abrasive world of inner-city life. I grew up quickly and learned that life for others isn’t always as cosy as mine was.
“After working in A&E for a couple of years, I took a summer job in the Casualty department of the Princess Elizabeth Hospital in Guernsey. This was a SEN training hospital, so alongside clinical work I did a teaching qualification and taught for the SEN course.
“Guernsey was a whole new world, zipping off to France for lunch and living the ex-pat lifestyle. I didn’t meet a millionaire, but I did win a car in raffle. New horizons gave me the travel bug, and I decided to use my nursing qualification to see the world.
“I got a job as a Nursing Sister on board the QE2. This was an exciting experience for me. Naively, I thought I would loll around on deck all day, but with 3,000 souls on board there was always plenty going on for the medical team.
“The responsibility was enormous as we were often days away from land. There was an operating room, x-ray, lab, two doctors, three nurses, a dentist and physio all kept busy with multinational crew members and passengers.
“Many of the passengers were rich and famous (and now infamous) and had very high demands and expectations. No names, but I’ve seen more famous bottoms for sea sickness injections than your average nurse.
“We hosted the Queen for the day, and I was the nurse on call for her. Without being visible I had to follow her around all day pushing an empty wheelchair in case she fell or fainted. Thankfully she didn’t need me.
“The travel took me to places I could never have imagined, world cruises every winter and North America in the summer.
“I met my husband on board. He was an Engineering Officer. When we got married, we had to leave the sea as back then married couples weren’t allowed to sail on the same ship. I was sad about this, but a new chapter of married life started for me.
“We set up home in South Queensferry just outside Edinburgh, and I was job hunting. I took up a peripatetic post with Fife NHS Occupational Health, an Occupational Health Service headed by Dr Pugh.
“This was a great job as I covered all kinds of contracts far and wide, from paper mills to distilleries. During this time, I did my degree course and moved to Health Partners (then Duradiamond Healthcare) in 2007. After about 10 years of life on the road, which can be lonely at times, I decided to go part-time and took the post I am still in which is Senior OH Advisor at Rosyth Dockyard.
“I enjoy my job. It has massive variety. We run a walk-in service for general advice, deal with accidents, have a vigorous health surveillance programme and case management. I work with a small but excellent team.
“What has nursing taught me? That it’s a great people leveller, and it is a privilege to interact with people. We are all the same – rich or poor, famous or Mr Ordinary.
“Do I wish I’d chosen a different career? No, not one bit. I am at retirement age, but I’ve just renewed my registration for another three years. I’ll know when it’s time for me to go, and it’s not quite yet.”
“I was 18 years old when I started training at the Royal London Hospital.
“I trained as a midwife in Cardiff University Hospital – was the mad midwife on a bike around the city as did not have a car at that time. Senior ward sister and consultant undertook the ward round in Welsh which neither myself or most of the patients understood, so I am always sure that people understand advice that is being given.
“I worked as a midwife at St Thomas’s Hospital. I loved looking at the Houses of Parliament every day – most of the antenatal mothers were bored looking at the river.
“I took an ITU course at The Royal London. Then became a Night Sister at University College Hospital. I covered Tropical Diseases Hospital which was fascinating. I was expected to inspect the tape worms to ensure that they were complete when the patients had passed them. Also covered regional plastics which included very early gender re-assignment surgery.
“I went to sea with Cunard Line and worked there for 13 years – two months onboard and one month off. Completed seven world cruises. I was based on the QE2. Three nurses and two doctors provided 24/7 cover of the 13-bed hospital for crew and passengers.
“We had an operating theatre, and, yes, we amputated a leg whilst at sea. We provided rapid response to medical emergencies on board – resuscitated in the middle of live shows…never a dull moment. Completed US RN registration so that I could treat US passengers on the quayside. Also undertook Air Ambulance course so could be involved in helivacs when at sea.
“I spent three months alongside in Japan during a charter – a very special time to be part of the culture.
“I met numerous VIPs and “stars”, but my most memorable moment was meeting Nelson Mandela, the most gracious person I have ever met. Truly loved by those around him; they were all prepared to take a bullet for him.
“I also worked in the Caribbean and Alaska on our smaller ships within the fleet – always had a tan for 13 years.
“My favourite cruises were Alaska and Norway – so unspoilt. I recommend for everyone to try and do one of these cruises. Realised that I had to join the real world again.
“I was part of the start-up team at NHS Direct. Worked my way from Nurse Advisor to Senior Manager within the service.
“I decided that I wanted to be part of the London 2012 Olympics, so joined Health Partners (then Duradiamond Healthcare). Based on Olympic build: we provided rapid response team to emergencies on site. I met my husband while working there – he took me for dinner and the rest was history.
“I have worked at Health Partners for 15 years and loved all the various roles I have undertaken. The last five years I have been part of the Remote Case Management team: great, supportive colleagues.
“I was in hospital for five months last year, and that made me realise that life is short and you never know what is around the corner. I am keen to spend time with family and friends, so am very excited that I will be retiring at the end of May.
“My next chapter starts 1 June 2023…”
From all of us at Health Partners, thank you Stephanie and Tracey for the many years of excellent and loyal service.
If you are interested in working for us at Health Partners and are a registered UK healthcare professional, we would love to hear from you: email@example.com.