I have always been a bit of a home bird really and having been born in Thetford, I didn’t really move very far to do my general nurse training at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds. Initially I spent my first year at the hospital as a Cadet Nurse prior to starting my Enrolled Nurse Training in 1975, and then going on to complete my conversion course to become a Registered General Nurse.
I have been at the hospital for over forty years, working in various specialities since qualifying. However, my love of ‘Cardiac Care’ developed when I was working in the combined Intensive Care/Coronary Care Unit. Due to a change in budgets the unit separated the specialities and I therefore had to make the decision which path I would follow, I certainly have never regretted my choice to stay with Cardiac patients. I feel that I have been very fortunate to come through an era where there have been so many advances in the treatment and care of people suffering with cardiac conditions.
Having worked in the acute setting of Coronary Care for many years I felt I needed to develop a more holistic approach to my patient care. I achieved this by becoming a member of the Cardiac Rehab Team, therefore enabling me to follow patients through their entire stay in hospital and beyond.
I was able to develop my career further and share my experience and knowledge of caring for cardiac patients when I took up the post of Cardiac Liaison Nurse at the hospital. This post gave me the opportunity to work out in the community with both District and Practice Nurses, providing them with educational sessions and support, during this time I also continued my role as Sister with the Cardiac Rehab Service provided by the hospital. Unfortunately once again due to changes in service provision locally the role only lasted for four years, and subsequently I found myself back in the front line of acute care as a member of the hospitals Chest Pain Assessment Team. However, my role currently role is a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Specialist.
My role as a Cardiac Advisor for UPBEAT started many years ago, initially covering the Friday evening exercise sessions when Ali Shorten my predecessor left.
As demand for new exercise sessions in Bury St Edmunds grew, exercise instructor Michelle Jermy and myself teamed up in 2004 to start a new class on Wednesday mornings at the local sports centre. Due to popular demand and the ever growing number of members wanting to exercise we started a second session on the Wednesday and soon after we introduced the third session of seated exercise. Every week a large number of members visit the vibrant Wednesday morning sessions. Some of the members have been coming for years, and to watch their progress is really so rewarding. The group now also provides exercise sessions on Monday and Friday mornings in Bury St Edmunds, and on a Tuesday morning in Long Melford.
Life is quite hectic for me most of the time, and I really could do with 48 hours in my day rather than just 24. I have a daughter who is a qualified Beautician and Massage Therapist. I also have a very lively little grand daughter who keeps me on my toes!!
With what free time I have, I can usually be found at the stables where I have a very ‘hands on’ approach to natural horsemanship (or should I say horsewomanship!). My friends and I are very fortunate as the stables are surrounded by wonderful forestry, and I find it truly peaceful and relaxing being able to ride out in the forest most weekends come rain or shine.