Tracy Pilcher shares her thoughts on a career in nursing

24th May 2022

Every May we celebrate International Nurses Day and here's a few words on my experiences and thoughts to mark Nurses Day.

As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse. My mum was a nurse and I admired her commitment and motivation for looking after people. This inspired me to follow in her footsteps. That was more than 30 years ago and I can honestly say it’s a fantastic career. I have worked in different areas of nursing and different parts of the country. There is always something new to learn, which is challenging and rewarding.

I started my nurse training in 1985 at Grimsby School of Nursing and went into coronary care nursing after qualifying, where I developed a passion for critical care nursing. I was supporting patients newly diagnosed with a heart attack, providing physical and psychological support and this was often a very frightening time for patients and their relatives. We were also the team called to patients in cardiac arrest, so were trained to defibrillate. Technology and treatment have progressed so much since then, with patients staying in hospitals for much less time now.

I moved to Oxford in 1989 and spent 15 years working in critical care nursing. This involved looking after patients who were critically ill. In intensive care back then, the role of the nurse was rapidly developing and we were responsible for the holistic care of patients on a range of technology to support their vital functions. The unit I worked in supported patients who were recovering following open-heart surgery. I initially worked as a staff nurse, then a senior staff nurse and then a Sister on the unit.

I’m lucky to say I have achieved a number of firsts; I was part of the first group to do the critical care nursing programme at Oxford Brookes University. I was part of an international rescue team called Operation Irma in 1993 that airlifted injured people from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the siege of Sarajevo. And I was one of the first nurses to do an advanced trauma course in 1993. When I started my autonomous practitioner programme in 1999, this was one of the first such programmes available in the UK, and when I moved to Lincolnshire in 2004 I was one of the first consultant nurses working in the county.

I am proud of nursing and the impact nurses have everyday in caring for patients and really making a difference to patients and their lives. This applies to all nursing staff, regardless their role or where they work, they are all crucial to patient care.

If you’re thinking of becoming a nurse, I’d advise you to do it. Everyday as a nurse is different, it’s exciting, motivating and rewarding.

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