Finalist of tonight’s Nursing Standard Awards – Debra Chatterton


Debra Chatterton of Weston General Hospital spoke to us about being shortlisted for The Bank Nurses Awards, sponsored by NHS Professionals. Debra works as a bank nurse in ITU (Intensive Therapy Unit) and theatre recovery and was nominated for her dedication to teaching resuscitation skills at both Western General Hospital and as a volunteer with the British Heart Foundation.

Congratulations on being shortlisted for this new award! Did you know you had been nominated?

No, I was completely shocked. When I received the email to tell me I had been shortlisted I thought it was a joke, I had to call the RCN to confirm it and find out who had nominated me! I then found out it was my former boss in the education department, Sister Penney Long, which was really touching.

How did you get into teaching resuscitation skills?

My background in ITU/CCU (coronary care unit) made me really interested in teaching CPR, especially to people who have no idea how to conduct it. Chances of survival increase by 50% with bystander CPR, which is why I think it’s so important for this to be taught to as many people as possible. I have an Advanced Life Support (ALS) course and also have a City and Guilds teaching qualification. I teach clinical staff one day a week in the education department in the hospital and have been teaching for about 10 years now. I also work as a volunteer and give Heartstart training for the British Heart Foundation, teaching Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills to members of the public.

Why did you choose to work as a bank worker and would you recommend it to other nurses?

I moved to Somerset 12 years ago and took up bank work because of family commitments. It gave me the flexibility that I needed and the opportunity to work in the areas that I wanted to. It allows me to take leave when I want to, which means I can spend more time with the patients as I do not have the additional responsibilities of the contracted staff, which is what I love to do the most. My experience of bank nursing has been very good; I have always been lucky enough to work in the departments that I’ve wanted to and this has allowed me to diversify into working in theatres. I would definitely recommend bank nursing to other nurses, especially those with a family.

Why do you think bank work is so important to the NHS?

Many hospitals would find it difficult to function without bank nurses who bring a diverse range of skills and adaptability, yet often they receive little recognition and can be cancelled at short notice. The non-registered nurses (Healthcare Assistants) are also an incredibly important asset and I think they are truly heroic.

This is the first time there’s been a Bank Nurses category in the Nursing Standards Awards, do you think this is a step in the right direction?

There are so many bank nurses so I think it’s great that there’s an award to recognise dedication and commitment. I always thought of the Nursing Standard Awards as being for higher profile nurses. It is important to recognise nurses who are leading the field, as they do great work, but it is equally as important to reward bank nurses. It’s really great that NHS Professionals are sponsoring the Bank Nurses award, celebrating all levels and areas of the nursing profession.

“It was my great privilege to be part of the panel that shortlisted the entries for the excellent work of these three bank nurses. They all make worthy winners and are shining examples of the best of bank nursing. I wish them the very best of luck and a well deserved evening of celebration at the Victoria and Albert Museum on the 12th March.” – Karen Barraclough, Senior Nurse/Head of Governance at NHS Professionals.

NHS Professionals is extremely proud to sponsor The Bank Nurses Award, a new category for the Nursing Standard Awards 2013. The award recognises and celebrates the valuable contribution that bank nurses make to nursing teams at Trusts and wards across the NHS. We wish all the finalists the very best of luck for this evening’s event.

Make sure you’re following @NHSPBank to be the first to find out who wins!

About the author

NHS Professionals administrator

NHS Professionals manages the temporary staffing needs of around 66 NHS Trusts across England. An integral part of the NHS, it aims to reduce Trusts’ spending on flexible workers without compromising quality, by providing greater transparency of demand and supplying bank staff at the best possible rate. Its bank of more than 40,000 flexible workers comprises general and specialist nurses, doctors, midwives, admin/clerical , allied health professionals, healthcare scientists, support services among other healthcare professionals.

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