The round trip from home to work is four hours for University College Hospital senior staff nurse Gifty Howusu. There are three hospitals closer to home but, as Gifty said: “You want to work with the best, and the best is here.”
“I like the interaction with patients. It’s very rewarding to see them recovering and getting well."
Gifty is based in the haematology and oncology day care department at the specialist Macmillan Cancer Centre, where a typical day starts by meeting patients coming in for chemotherapy. Gifty will review their notes, check their vital signs and blood results, and make sure they are ready for treatment. Taking time with patients and providing reassurance and encouragement are important.
“I’m a hands-on nurse,” she said. “I like the interaction with patients. It’s very rewarding to see them recovering and getting well. Our patients are so grateful for even the little things you do for them. It’s great to go home knowing you have done a good job”
In particular, she appreciates the team approach and supportive environment in the hospital, where senior nurses and managers are always on hand to offer help and advice. “Nothing is too much trouble,” she said.
“If I heard that someone wanted to work here, I would highly recommend it. It’s a top-class hospital, the staff are dedicated and well-qualified and there are many opportunities to study and learn.” She has just finished a three-month one-day-a-week course in stem cell transplantation.
Gifty moved to the UK in 2003 after qualifying and working in Ghana. At first she worked in Liverpool and then applied to work in London. She had interviews lined up at three hospitals, the first with University College Hospital. Once she was offered the job, she didn’t try out the others. And she’s never regretted it.
“I live two hours away and there are three hospitals closer to me where I could work. But this is the place to be. I look forward to coming into work every single day and as soon as I don’t, it will be time to quit.”
From the expression on Gifty’s face as she walks back to see her patients, that doesn’t look like any time soon.