There is no typical day. I never know who will be coming through the door, says nurse Bobby Garcia.
A typical day?
It could be a complex case like major trauma, stroke or heart attack to minor injuries such as a cut hand or a wound that needs cleaning. I’m also part of the triage team which assesses around 300-400 patients a day. We take their vital signs such as respiratory rate, saturation levels, pulse and temperature. You need a good clinical eye to prioritise which patients need the most immediate attention.
Why did you choose to work in the emergency department?
There is no other place for me to be. A&E is where I belong! I like working with very unwell patients; it is the essence of nursing for me. It’s an adrenaline-infused atmosphere and can be very intense but I’m a pretty ‘chill’ person and so it suits me. I don’t get flustered and always try to gather my thoughts and carry out multiple tasks in an organised manner.
What kind of skills do you need?
To stay calm in the busiest moments. Do a thorough assessment, prioritise, keep a clear mind. And be kind, it goes a long way for your patients and colleagues.
You’ve worked at UCLH for five years. Any particularly memorable patients?
An older lady who was struggling to breathe. I could see the anxiety in her eyes. I held her hand and said “you are not alone. We are all here for you”. To be able to help her feel better was a great feeling. There was a delivery man who was in a residential lift which plummeted to the ground. The patient walked in through our front door which was pretty unusual after such an accident. He was given a full body scan and referred to a major trauma centre. It brings me satisfaction to help deliver emergency care when someone’s life is threatened.
It’s been a tough year. Any positives?
There was a feeling “we are all in this together, let’s try to treat everyone we meet with kindness”.
What would you say to someone thinking of a career in A&E?
I say go for it! There’s a great team spirit. It’s not going to be an easy job but you will never be bored. You will meet all kinds of patients, gain invaluable knowledge from various specialties and develop your critical thinking skills. So, if you like a fast-paced workplace and continuous learning, A&E is the place to be.