My name is Shauna and I am Clinical Nurse Manager on a children’s burns unit.
I tailor my practice to each child, and make sure they and their parents are comfortable at every stage of their care. I do my best to stay positive and calm, to cascade that feeling down to the ward, the children and their families.
I do this to help children and their families through what can be an incredibly difficult time in their lives.
I always wanted to do something in healthcare, that was very apparent for me from a very young age. And then we had a talk from two nurses in school, it just seemed to be such a beautiful way to help every aspect of life. You could go into it and be there from birth, right the way up to end of life, and everything in between.
I did a dual degree and qualified in children’s and general nursing. Then I started my career here, on this ward, before going on to do a graduate diploma in burns and plastics. That helped me become Clinical Nurse Manager and I’ve been qualified now for nearly seven years.
When I tell people I work on a children’s burns unit, everyone’s initial reaction is, ‘oh…’. But being in burns is great, in that it is obviously incredibly traumatising for the child and their families, but for the vast majority, I mean 99%, they come in to you, you help them through it, and then you see them go home and do brilliantly.
Our burns unit here is very nurse-led, which is what I love. You’re assessing, you’re deciding on dressing changes, you’re looking at the wound, you’re deciding what goes on it, you’re heavily involved with the child and their parents. You’re given an opportunity to look at what you can change for the better, what’s not working, what can we do better.
The job satisfaction, for me, is when you see the child and their family walking out the door, giving you a smile and a wave, and saying, ‘Thanks a million – even though we were hospitalised, we had a great time.’ To make someone’s life even the smallest bit easier, I get so much out of that.
I’m the first person from my family to go to college, or to university. So that was a huge achievement for both myself and my family. Then when I got the role of Clinical Nurse Manager, that was just brilliant. I wouldn’t have been one to push myself, but then when the opportunity came up, I thought, do you know what? Here we go, let’s do this. And I got it, and I was delighted. And I love it.
One of my greatest achievements is being in a job that I love, and really enjoy, and get so much out of. I think I’m so lucky because there are so many people that get up in the morning and are like, here we go again, but I think I’m so lucky to be in a job that I adore.
One of my university lecturers said ‘The day you stop learning in nursing is the day you need to give up.’ Because you learn something new every single day. And especially in children’s nursing, there’s not a day when the kids don’t teach you something. That’s what keeps nursing interesting.
You want to get your less experienced staff nurses trained up as quickly as possible. You go through the theory then the only way that they’re going to learn is to do the dressing themselves. But you’re there to support them and talk them through it, and you’re linking in with parents the whole way through as well.
No nurse is an island. We’re a team. You can’t do everything yourself and it’s so important to know when to ask for help. Definitely. That’s what keeps everyone going.