Caring for elderly patients who are often confused and very ill has a number of challenges, but it is also highly rewarding, as Owain McAteer explains.
What does your job involve?
We don’t just look after our patients’ medical needs, we also have to make sure they have family, friends or social care who can support them when they are discharged, as well as caring for them in hospital including washing their hair and shaving them.
We are always looking at ways we can better care for them, such as a recent nutrition project we have started. This aims to make sure the patients get the food they need and that they are able to eat it. It is really making a huge difference to them, which makes it worthwhile.
As I am the charge nurse, I am also responsible for a team of staff, ensuring they are carrying out their duties to a high standard and dealing with rotas and annual leave.
What does a usual day look like?
I live in Northampton so it is an early start for me to get in for 7.45am to talk to the night shift and review any new patients that have come in. I spend the rest of the day caring for patients, supporting our nurses and nursing assistants and talking to patients’ families.
What’s the best part of your job?
It is very rewarding when you see a really ill patient recover and get them the help and care they need for when they are discharged. It can be a bit like a jigsaw trying to get all the pieces to fit. You also really build up a relationship with the patients and their families as they are often admitted to our ward a few times.
What is the worst part of your job?
The conversations with the patients’ families can sometimes be quite tough, especially during COVID-19 when we had to tell families they couldn’t visit. Despite this though, it is a job I really enjoy.