Get to know our Nurses- Nicola Graham

Nicola Graham

As part of the Year of the Nurse and Midwife 2020, we will be profiling some of our Nursing Team, and nurses and midwives from the Midlands region throughout the year.

This week, you can find out more about Nicola Graham, GUM Project Manager for East Midlands Sexual Assault Services.

On a typical day

I tend to start my working day anytime between 8am-9am and can be based at various locations or attending meetings at various sites across the East Midlands and occasionally in the West Midlands.

I am currently in a non-traditional Nursing role on secondment to NHSE/I in the GUM Project Manager role. I therefore do not currently see clients face to face. I have however been patient facing for the best part of my 27years with the NHS and have had an incredible professional journey in clinical roles.

Tell us how you have made a difference as a nurse or midwife

Having done various Nursing Roles at an Advanced level, I would like to think the quality of care I have consistently delivered has made a difference for a number of individuals, their families/carers and significant others, particularly around the quality of life achieved for some of those I cared for with End Stage Heart Failure and for those who required palliative care when in the terminal phase of their illness. Having also been a key player in local service development, I would hope I have made a difference on a larger scale by transforming pathways of care and implementing changes to systems and processes.

What inspired you to go into nursing? What would you say to a young person interested in a career in nursing & midwifery?

What inspired me? This is a very good question. I was inspired by the prospect of being able to help people at a time when they need help the most, not only those needing care of any kind but their families/carers and significant others. As a Nurse you have the opportunity to really make a difference for people at various points in their life and adult nursing offers a plethora of opportunities from which to professionally and personally grow. For someone interested in a career in Nursing & Midwifery I would say follow your interest, if you are naturally inspired by what you could offer in these roles; follow it, pursue it and do it.

As a child/young person I have fond memories of my Nana who had Parkinson’s disease from a young age. Despite how young I was, I recall very clearly witnessing her decline over the years (mainly by her reduced ability to play with me and interact with me) but what I also saw was how my Grandad cared for her every need. Having been in Nursing for some considerable years I have been exposed to how not everyone is this lucky and not everyone gets this level of support at a time when they need it. Nurses/Midwifes in collaboration with invaluable colleagues can make this difference and be that voice to get the right care, right place at the right time for individuals who need this.

Are there any good nursing/midwifery projects/ innovations happening in your organisation or region that you’d like to share?

There is lots occurring in NHSE/I and I am unlikely aware of everything that’s occurring but I think more importantly there is also the sharing of what’s worked/working well in some areas and sharing this learning in other areas.

Have you won any awards or recognitions for your nursing or midwifery role?

Not to date but have been awarded a GEM (Going the Extra Mile) award – an internal recognition award for the work undertaken regards Palliative care processes in primary, secondary and third sector care organisations.

Tell us about your most memorable moment

Lots of treasurable moments from urine and sputum samples the colours of the rainbow being labelled round the table at lunchtime, being midway through a sandwich when your colleague next to you is labelling such items is one way to harden the appetite to combat anything; to heartfelt thanks from so many clients and families but one unique memory has to be:

An old colleague of mine from when I was a Community Matron contacted me for a an overdue catch up, I thought nothing of this and we met at Cresswell Craggs; we went for coffee and had a lovely walk, lovely catch up.

On route back to the car she asked me to go to her car with her and went to her boot, from her boot she brought out the most beautiful bouquet of flowers, which I instantly thanked her for but was confused why she had bought me these, it wasn’t my birthday and it hadn’t been that long since we had seen each other; she went on to tell me one of my previous long standing patients had died; a gentleman with end stage COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and his wife wanted to pay tribute to me but didn’t know how to get in touch with me. There was the most beautiful card with a heartfelt message in-scripted, thanking me for the level of care I had given her Husband including putting up with his alternate moods and how she felt his quality of life was significantly improved from my input and his life longevity extended resulting from this.