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Celebrating specialist nurses for their patient care

Celebrating specialist nurses for their patient care

The care given by specialist nurses to their patients is being celebrated for Nurses’ Day (Sunday 12 May).

The large range of different types of nursing roles has been highlighted by Emma Sweeney, the new Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Nursing Officer at Basildon Hospital, part of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.

Emma said: “Nurses’ Day is a fabulous opportunity to celebrate the profession and the different sides of nursing. It is a great way to share our work, where the patient is at the heart of everything we do every single day.”

Some of the staff taking specialised roles across the Trust have spoken about what they do to provide care to patients in mid and south Essex.

Emma Sweeney, Director of Nursing

Emma first qualified in London 24 years ago and has a background in oncology nursing, before taking up nursing leadership roles.

“I always wanted to be a nurse. I am one of those people who was inspired by my grandmother, who wasn’t a nurse but worked in the laundry at the Royal London Hospital. I had a nurse’s uniform when I was tiny – just like my daughter!

“I went into oncology as I worked on a surgical ward where we cared for newly diagnosed cancer patients and those that had a life-limiting diagnosis. I knew instantly that I wanted to care for people at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“I am very proud to be a Registered Nurse whose decisions remain patient-centred every day. I’m also proud to empower and support staff and watch them flourish within their career.”

Sarah Williams, Professional Nurse Advocate

As well as patient care, a vital part of any nurse’s job is to support the welfare of their colleagues. A Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) is a dedicated role on top of regular nursing duties, where nurses help improve their colleagues’ wellbeing.

One of the PNAs who works at the Trust is Sarah Williams, who is based across Basildon, Broomfield, and Southend hospitals as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Critical Care Psychological Therapies. She said:

“A PNA focuses on the wellbeing of nurses. It’s something we do alongside our day-to-day roles, spending time on wards and in departments with nursing colleagues to make sure they feel listened to, confident in their roles and aware of the mental health support available to them. It’s really rewarding knowing that we’re making a difference.”

“We have great nurses working here and we want to them to be happy at work.”

Roberta Marino, Theatre Sister at Broomfield Hospital

Roberta initially joined Broomfield Hospital as a healthcare assistant, but eight years later has progressed to become a Theatre Sister.

“A Theatre Sister is someone who prepares the sterile area before an operation and looks after the patient during the operation. We run through the surgical safety checklist with the surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses performing the operation, and assist with emergencies when they come in. There’s a lot to remember and you must be very quick thinking.

“You need to be able to read the room and the changing situation and be an expert in what you do – always think one step ahead and be ready for anything.

“We make decisions for patients while they’re asleep, so there needs to be that trust between them and us. We always do what we can to make sure they have the best possible recovery.”

If you are interested in training to become a nurse, ask your local adult education college for information. The Trust has regular job opportunities for qualified nurses and health care assistants which can be seen on

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