News posted 12 May, 2024

International Nurses Day 2024 – Two Manchester nurses reflect on how it feels to have ‘one of the best professions’ as one starts their journey, and one looks to retirement

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  • International Nurses Day 2024 – Two Manchester nurses reflect on how it feels to have ‘one of the best professions’ as one starts their journey, and one looks to retirement

Sabah Nadeem and Anne Sullivan both work as nurses at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and can offer a unique insight into how it feels to be a nurse at two very different stages in their lives.

Sabah, aged 24, works as a General Nurse at North Manchester General Hospital. She said: “I’ve worked as a nurse for two years and I actually trained here at this hospital. I’m from Manchester and have lived here for my whole life.

“I work on a general medical ward for females, which looks after so many different types of patients, from those with acute needs to palliative end of life care. A typical day here is giving medications, attending to personal hygiene needs, making sure that patients are eating and drinking well, because that is so important to aid recovery.

“We also try to keep our patients engaged and entertained where we can. We have many activities and games, and we even host little parties for the patients on days like Saint Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

“There are many challenges to working here. You can plan a shift, but sometimes it doesn’t go to plan because you have acutely unwell patients, and anything can change. But that’s why I love nursing, because no two days are the same. It feels so lovely when you have patients say thank you at the end of a day”.

Sabah was inspired to join the NHS by personal experiences with both her mum and grandma. She said: “My mum was a general medical nurse and worked in Leeds and London. She was so confident; she loved her job and was always passionate about nursing.

“My grandma received treatment for dementia in both North Manchester General Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary and many community nurses came to her house to help with her feeding needs.

“When my grandma was looking for something that wasn’t there, nurses would go along with her, just so she wouldn’t get agitated and would help her calm down easily. This really helped us as a family because we didn’t think that we would see her be calm in a hospital environment but it was all thanks to the staff”.

Having qualified two years ago, Sabah is at the start of her nursing career, and she has already found an area of nursing which she would like to specialise in.

She said: “The transition from being a student to actually working as a nurse can seem really daunting, because you always have people around you helping you learn. But one thing I realised since qualifying is that you are never alone”.

“I have a background of being an infectious disease nurse. I am really intrigued by it and it’s been important to me since I was a student here.

“There are so many different types of infections and nurses have such an important role in patient care, from the way you have to dress to work with patients and all the different treatments”.

Sabah has such a positive mental attitude and is renowned in her ward for her incredible passion for nursing. She said: “My colleagues would say that I’m too energetic and enthusiastic. My energy definitely drives the ward through a tough shift.

“Anyone that’s looking to become a nurse, I would say go for it. It truly is amazing. It can be difficult, no job is easy but there is so much potential, so many specialist areas you can go into”.

Anne, aged 67, works as a Theatre sister at Trafford General Hospital. She said:
“I started my training when I was 19 and have worked as a nurse since January 1976. I grew up in Flixton, which is just a mile and a half down the road”.

“Being a theatre nurse has so many responsibilities. We prepare theatres, making sure all the equipment is there, we discuss whether we have to make any adjustments to suit the needs of a patient. We also scrub up and set up the trolleys and pass the instruments to the surgeons.

“When I first started working in theatre, patients could be recovering from surgery for up to ten days. Now because healthcare has improved so much over the years, some patients can be out of hospital the same day as their procedure”.

Looking at a map of the Trafford General Hospital grounds, she spoke about so many memories and showed where she used to spend her free time.

She said: “When I was training, we lived in the nurse’s accommodation on site here at Trafford. I came from a very draughty Victorian house where you would get ice on the inside of the windows. The nurses’ accommodation had central heating and to me that was absolute heaven.

“At the local pub, there was a big, long table known as the nurses’ table and no one else ever sat there. In summer, we used to play hockey matches, with doctors playing nurses. The atmosphere was so special because of the companionship – we shared so much laughter and fun”.

Anne has been lucky enough to work as a nurse in various different specialities, in the UK and abroad, before settling on her true passion in surgery theatres.

She said: “I worked in South Africa for three years in a neonatal ward and we used to treat really tiny babies. It was really special to work in a very different area of nursing than what I was used to and see the babies eventually leave with their families.

“My first job after qualifying was working in A&E on night duty in the hospital where I trained, but I also would go into surgery in emergency situations, which is where I found a passion for theatres.

“I just knew the minute I walked through the door that I loved it. What I like about it is the teamwork. Everybody from surgeons to anaesthetists to radiographers; everybody works together as part of one big team.

Her passion for nursing actually inspired her own daughter to enter the field. She said: “My daughter had already been to university but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. I suggested that she worked as a healthcare assistant, to see how she fared working with patients on the wards.

“She applied for an apprenticeship and began work at the Manchester Royal Infirmary admissions ward and she loved it from the word go. I was so proud of her. She did her nurse training and is now working as a community nurse visiting around 20 patients a day”.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Anne began her partial retirement, and works three days a week in the hospital which means so much to her. As she begins to wind down her career, she spoke about how important nurses are to the NHS.

She said: “Nursing covers such a wide variety of areas and you can always find an area that you like. It’s not just looking after patients on the wards, or theatres – some people might not like working in an operating theatre, but I love it.

“When things are challenging, you take one day at a time, or one task at a time and work through your workload and do the best you can. People around you will always help you. It’s really rewarding to look back at the end of the day to know that you have done a good job”.

“I think we have one of the best professions, and people always need nurses”.

Watch Anne’s full video…

Play the video below to hear about Anne’s 48 year nursing journey.


Watch Sabah full video…

Play the video below to hear about Sabah’s experience as a nurse.