Real-life story - Bethany Coombes
Bethany won the very first Step into the NHS schools schools competition in 2009. Her experience with the competition led her to exploring the range of health and care careers. She is now a senior staff nurse working in the care sector.
How I got into the role
I remember doing the Step into the NHS schools competition when I was in year 8 which inspired me to investigate roles in healthcare.
I was interested in biological science as well as counselling and helping others so nursing seemed the perfect fit.
I trained at the University of Bradford and experienced district nursing on placement. I loved it! After qualifying, I worked in district nursing in Bradford for 18 months and then spent some time in practice nursing.
I really missed many elements of district nursing, particularly working in care homes so I applied for a job at a Gledhow Christian Care Home!
What I do
Typically, I get to work 7.45am for handover from the night staff. I am responsible for a team of carers, so I need to make sure everyone knows what they are doing.
The amount of variety I get in my work is really satisfying. For example, I am responsible for wound care at the home and lead the medication rounds three times a day.
I think one of the major issues in nursing is when people assume that you aren’t as knowledgeable as a doctor. Nurses can answer the questions just as well (if not better) as we are with patients most of the time!
Career plans and top tips for others
I am immensely proud of my degree and of being a nurse. I am always looking out for additional training as it is incredibly worthwhile to me and the people I work with. Training in phlebotomy and qualifications in palliative care have really made a difference.
In the future, I would like to become a tissue viability nurse as I have an interest in wound care and the biology behind the healing process.
If you are thinking about being a nurse, make sure it is the right thing for you. Being a nurse affects every single part of your life. It becomes a defining trait of who you are as a person.
Three things that nurses need to be are compassionate, patient and resilient.
Life outside work
I’ve always enjoyed reading which comes in handy when I want to study up on a condition or research certain medicines.
I always have enjoyed drawing and henna (though I’m not too good at either) and the manual dexterity used in these hobbies has been very helpful in coming up with imaginative ways to dress wounds on certain body parts, as well as in steadying my hand when administering injections or removing sutures!
My friends help me to maintain a healthy balance. They make sure that I go rather than just watch Netflix on my days off!
It can be very challenging when a patient passes away. It’s easy to become attached to a patient or resident as they are part of your daily life as you are to theirs.