“Nursing is a great job and there is such a good environment here and great colleagues to work with".
Georgie Riley says she fell into nursing. Now a staff nurse working in orthopaedics at University College Hospital - on the same ward that she did her first placement - she obviously landed well.
Her application to study adult nursing at London South Bank University was submitted, literally, at the eleventh hour, on the last day submissions could be accepted. Even then she wasn’t entirely sure that nursing was going to be the right career choice.
“I had tried some HR and some PR while studying for my A levels and before I went to university,” Georgie explained, “but I always felt there was something missing. I still can’t really put my finger on it. Then, when I got on to the ward, I immediately felt I had come home. The something that was missing, wasn’t missing any more.”
It was on the T10 orthopaedics ward at University College Hospital that her practical nurse training began and, when she arrived back as a staff nurse, she was pleased to find many of the team members were still there.
“The fact that so many of the team are still here three years later, shows what a fantastic place it is to work,” she said. “It’s such a great environment. Working here it’s not just me and the patient. It’s the whole multi-disciplinary team and the patient, all working well together.”
While her family was surprised that she opted for nursing, her school teachers thought it would suit her “perfectly”. And it has.
“Nursing is a great job and there is such a good environment here and great colleagues to work with. I think when you do other jobs you make acquaintances, here you make friends.”
Georgie said the hospital preceptorship scheme, where staff are assigned a mentor to help with their professional development, was very useful. As a self-confessed “goal-setting type”, she enjoys the discipline of mapping out a set of goals and then working hard to achieve them. “It’s helped me become fully-fledged,” she said. “There are lots of people around all the time to ask for help and advice, but having someone there ‘just for you’ is very supportive.”
Georgie is fascinated by bones and wound care and enjoys the wide range of patients that pass through the orthopaedic ward, from those who have had an accident, to those who are coming in for planned surgery.
She said: “It’s so lovely when you see a patient get better after they have been struggling and you’ve had to helped them to walk. Then they are walking out through the door by themselves, and you know you won’t see them again because they are well and they don’t need to come back.”
There was, she said, a great atmosphere in the hospital and it provided “a fantastic learning experience”. She said a flick through the patient feedback comments, showed how frequently patients noted that the nurses on the ward looked happy.
Being valued was also important. Georgie said: “The nurses here are very highly regarded. The doctors really value our opinion because they know we are here all the time and that we can see small changes in our patients. I think the way we are treated also reflects the training throughout UCLH, that the doctors respect all the team, not just those above them.”
If Georgie hadn’t got that nursing degree application in on time, might she have done something else? “Perhaps. Maybe molecular biology. Apart from bones and wounds, I’m also fascinated by cells and how they work.”
But now, she said: “I wouldn’t do anything else. There are many learning opportunities and so much you can do as a nurse – you can work in a hospital, in the community, with a charity, or abroad. There are just so many doors in nursing, and they’re all wide open.”