Upon graduating from her adult nursing degree last summer, little did Sophie Bryant-Miles know she would soon be working on the front line of the NHS tackling the challenges presented by a worldwide pandemic.
It has been an incredible nine months for Sophie as a newly qualified nurse and the University’s Alumni team caught up with her to find out how she is doing and what it’s like to be working in the NHS right now.
How has Covid-19 impacted your life both professionally and personally?
I never thought six months after qualifying I’d be on the front line doing my part to fight a pandemic. I work on a busy AMU (Acute Medical Unit) ward in my first post as a newly qualified nurse. Professionally, I’ve had to quickly learn and develop new skills that I would normally not use in my daily work life such as using and monitoring non-invasive ventilation equipment. However, I’ve also seen the amazing support Bradford has shown towards the NHS. On a personal level, it’s been hard. I live in Bradford with my fiancé and we’ve finally been able to spend time together since I started my nursing training, with staying at home, but my family live down south so not having them close by and knowing they are okay is worrying.
What is a usual day like for you at work?
A usual day at work for me involves doing a handover first thing, morning drug round, doctors ward round, completing tasks from the ward round (new medications, telemetry machines, discharges, etc), followed by a lunchtime drug round, making sure I have documented everything I have done for each patient, preparing my handover for the end of shift and then do the evening drug round. In between all this, I need to admit new patients, transfer patients to other wards, discharge patients, and continue to keep my documentation up to date. There’s probably a lot I’ve missed out!
What do you think is the greatest challenge you face on the front line of the NHS?
I’d say the greatest challenge is under-funding. The NHS is short-staffed and there isn’t a lot of incentive to become a nurse, you need to be truly passionate and want to care and help people to be a nurse, it’s not something people get into for the pay.
So, what inspired you to become a nurse?
I was inspired to become a nurse when I had surgery at 16. I had a tonsillectomy and developed sepsis a week later causing me to lose a lot of blood and I almost died. The nursing staff who took care of me when I was unwell were brilliant and so compassionate. I’d definitely say this is what made me want to become a nurse, I wanted to be like them.
How has your Bradford nursing degree helped prepare you for your job?
The placements I completed throughout the three years of my degree and the encouragement the staff gave me have helped prepare me for my job. My personal academic tutor gave me a lot of support throughout my training and particularly at a point when I could quite easily have given up.
Are there any interesting stories you can share from your experiences as a nurse during the coronavirus pandemic?
I’ve had so many interesting encounters during COVID-19 so far from patients wanting to self-discharge through fear the NHS would kill them, reassuring the elderly that they would receive support in the community whilst in isolation to helping a couple have a wedding service before sadly one of them passed away (however they didn’t have COVID-19). I’ve also seen how much support the Bradford community has given the NHS and the amazing way people have changed their lives to protect each other.
What advice would you give others at this uncertain time?
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will get through this, and although things may never be the same again nobody can predict what will happen. To the student nurses and any other healthcare students, you’re all fabulous and it’s brilliant to see so many of you helping out on the front line. Please continue to follow the Government’s advice and stay at home!
What would you say to those considering volunteering to support the front line?
Please do volunteer if you think it is right for you. The support we have received so far has been overwhelming.
Would you like to share a story about how you have been supporting others during COVID-19?
The Alumni Team are interested in hearing about what alumni and students are doing to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. No matter how small your contribution, your story doesn’t have to be heroic, you can get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org