As part of our focus on nurses from Fife and Tayside for International Nurses Day, we talked to nurses about their career highs and lows.
There are 62,346 NHS nurses working in Scotland. Of those, 5,244 work for NHS Tayside.
We spoke to four nurses from Ninewells Hospital in Dundee about their profession.
Marie Maclellan began her career as a nurse in 1993 and has enjoyed a dynamic career of both practice and teaching.
She jobshares with Lynne Douglas, who has been a nurse for almost 21 years and started her current post earlier this year.
Both Lynne and Marie work at Ward 29 in Ninewells Hospital as Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nurse Specialists, with children who have leukaemia and other types of cancer.
Lynne: “Being a nurse is not just being a nurse. It’s so varied and depends where you work, what speciality you’re in. It’s very different across the hospital what different nurses do.”
Marie: “Some people see nurses as the person who is taking your temperature, giving you medicine and doing lots of practical things, but a lot of our time is spent building relationships, supporting parents. Sometimes you feel like a counsellor. It’s so very different.”
Lynne: “People think it must be hard and sad, and it can be, but it can also be enjoyable building those relationships with the children and their families.
“There are two sides to it. We reflect every day and we talk about how we feel.”
Marie: “I honestly think the job I enjoy most is the one I’m in now. Any time I’ve moved away to teaching, I’ve missed the patient and family contact.
“In this job you’ve got that but it’s also an interesting and rewarding post. You really feel like you’re doing something worthwhile.”
Stella Digba is a Senior Charge Nurse also working at Ninewells Hospital.
“The pandemic presented a major challenge for me and my team. Our ward was now to become the planned surgical unit, to allow major surgeries to continue.
“We had to keep patients safe before and after surgery to prevent them from contracting Covid-19.
“Given this enormous task, my staff and I had to follow stringent guidelines, while learning new skills to care for patients of different surgical specialities.
“Becoming a Senior Charge Nurse has been the biggest challenge of my career. The role comes with enormous responsibilities and challenges.
“Navigating this through hard work, determination and perseverance allowed me to adapt quickly. On reflection, this change was a blessing in disguise because it led me to working with my fantastic team.
“I was delighted to get the role and felt I was given the opportunity to develop, lead and to serve this patient group and to work alongside a fantastic team.
“This gave me the courage to dream big.”
Denise Marshall is a Senior Charge Nurse with the Gynaecology Outpatient Services at Ninewells Hospital. She has been a nurse for more than 30 years.
“I am extremely proud to be a nurse.
“The biggest challenge through the pandemic has been adapting services to allow us to continue to deliver the most needed care, when required.
“We have adapted a number of services to ensure that the care required is delivered, often not in the way it had been delivered prior to the pandemic.
“The Covid pandemic has meant that we have had to move quickly and patient care is now more tailored to what is needed.
“I decided not long after qualifying that I wanted to be educated to a higher level in nursing and spoke to my Nursing Officer at the time.
“She suggested that I do my degree, which I did and achieved this in 1997, whilst working full time and after having my first child.
“There have been many highs, from undertaking a specialist role in a service I loved – Breast Cancer care – to helping patients and relatives when they were at their lowest, often following the death of a loved one.
“Nursing today is more about working in partnership with the patient, the multi-disciplinary team and ensuring that the patient and their family are at the centre of everything we do.”
- If you would you like to thank a nurse who has made the difference, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org