Elizabeth Browse, from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has won the Bank Nurse Award at the 2015 Nurse Awards, organised by the Nursing Standard. She retired two years ago but joined the colorectal nursing team at St Thomas’ as she wanted to continue to be involved in patient care. She was nominated by Fiona Hibberts, Consultant Nurse, who wanted to show her appreciation for all of Elizabeth’s hard work.
NHS Professionals sponsors the Bank Nurse Award, which recognises and rewards the vital and ever increasing contribution bank nurses play in the nursing workforce on wards every day. The judges were seeking nominations for bank nurses and bank nursing teams who perform above what is considered as the ‘norm’ and who add value to the substantive team.
We spoke to Elizabeth after the awards to find out more about her role and nomination.
Hi Elizabeth, tell us a bit a bit about yourself.
How long have you been a nurse?
I started training at St.Thomas’ in 1970 and became a Surgical Ward Sister there in 1976. Shortly after in 1980, I left to do voluntary work abroad. When I returned, I was Head of Nursing on night duty at St Bartholomew’s Hospital for three years before I came back to Guy’s and St Thomas’ as a Ward Sister in 1986. Colorectal surgical nursing was the focus and eventually became my sole speciality.
What do you like most about nursing and why did you want to become a bank nurse?
I retired in 2010, and after a break, I did a bit of voluntary work but missed the patients, my colleagues and hospital life. Now working part time, I am able to be flexible and have the luxury of being free to take on new challenges. I joined the bank three years ago and have worked with various nursing teams within the colorectal service ever since.
How do you feel about winning this award?
I was very surprised to have been nominated but I’m delighted that the colorectal nursing team’s work is being recognised. The awards ceremony was a lovely occasion and it’s wonderful to have recognition for your team. I really recommend entering.
What were you nominated for?
It’s hard to say, but in Fiona’s opinion it was because I was taking on various new roles that brought new challenges and ways of working.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
I have continued to learn and develop, which has been daunting at times as sometimes it has been at short notice. However, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this experience is being a Band 5 Bank Nurse without the responsibility of being a Ward Sister or Head of Nursing. Many of the roles in outpatients have been new to me, but because everyone is so supportive and welcoming, I have adapted quickly.
What gives you greatest satisfaction in your work?
Flexibility and adaptability are both qualities needed in a Bank Nurse and are essential for adapting the way we give good care to each individual patient. The quality of the nursing specialists I have been working with is consistently excellent. I have been lucky enough to learn a great deal and develop new skills while continuing to have contact with patients.
One of the other pleasures of this role is working with so many different colleagues that I have watched develop. Many of them were ‘my’ staff nurses originally and they are now Colorectal Nurse Specialists. The role reversal has been fun and it has been a pleasure seeing them flourish.
The colorectal nursing teams that I have worked with are exceptional. They are skilled and have an extraordinary amount of expertise. I love being part of the team and it is great that they have been recognised through this award.
Do you feel part of a team working as a bank nurse?
I was always made to feel very welcome, even though I needed a great deal of support at the beginning of each new role. I have always believed it’s essential to make people feel welcome and appreciated as it creates a good working environment meaning patients get the best care possible.
NHS Professionals was extremely proud to sponsor The Bank Nurse Award at this year’s Nurse Awards, organised by the Nursing Standard. The award recognises and celebrates the valuable contribution that bank nurses make to nursing teams at Trusts and wards across the NHS.