Nurses come together to celebrate day held in their honour

Cathy Arbuthnot Jones, who works as a community mental health nurse, specialising in dementia. Photo

Cathy Arbuthnot Jones, who works as a community mental health nurse, specialising in dementia. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Nurses across Norfolk will came together on Sunday to mark Nurses' Day and celebrate their contribution to people's lives.

Julie Gillies, a senior community mental health nurse in Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trusts north

Julie Gillies, a senior community mental health nurse in Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trusts north older peoples community mental health team. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

Held each year on the birthday of the world's most famous nurse, Florence Nightingale, it is a chance for nurses to get together with colleagues to take time to celebrate as well as to talk to people about why the profession is so important.

Teresa Budrey, Royal College of Nursing eastern regional director, said: "Every day nurses do extraordinary work for all of their patients, often going the extra mile to ensure patients receive the care they deserve.

"Nurses' Day is a chance for the thousands of nurses working across the UK to come together to celebrate being part of one of the greatest professions.

"The day is the chance to celebrate the amazing work nurses do, take time to celebrate and talk to people about why nursing is so important and hopefully inspire others to become nurses themselves."

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One of those celebrating will be Cathy Arbuthnot Jones, who works as a community mental health nurse, specialising in dementia, in Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust's north older people's community mental health team, based at the Julian Hospital in Norwich.

She visits care homes to check on service users, support staff there with challenges related to dementia and review any medications.

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She said: "I love working with older people, especially the social events. One of my best memories is watching people with severe dementia coming to life during karaoke and conducting. One lady said 'this is the best birthday I ever had'. It was such a special moment.

"I love my job and look forward to coming to work - knowing you're making such a positive difference to people's lives is so rewarding."

Cathy, who began her career in nursing more than 30 years ago, said it was a TV programme that first inspired her to join the profession. She said: "I had a 'eureka!' moment watching a programme on TV - a woman was sitting on a bed talking to someone with mental health problems and I thought, 'I could do that'."

While Julie Gillies, a senior community mental health nurse specialising in memory assessment in the same team, has worked for the NHS for almost 31 years.

She said: "It's the little things that touch you, like when people don't speak and then one day, out of the blue, they say 'thank you' when you give them a cuppa. You know you have made a connection."

Julie began as a nursing assistant with the then Norwich Health Authority at St Andrew's Hospital in the city in 1988, working in long-stay dementia care wards, qualifying as a registered mental health nurse (RMN) in 1992.

She has enjoyed a number of roles throughout her nursing career, but said working in assessment had been especially fulfilling.

"A diagnosis of dementia can be challenging for many people but for some it can be a relief, and it's our job to make the journey through dementia as positive as possible, both for the patient and their family.

"It's about improving people's lives - and I guess that's what nursing's all about."

At Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) the trust is showing appreciation to its nursing staff by showcasing the difference they make to the health and well-being of local patients.

Anna Morgan, NCHC director of nursing and quality, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to thank all of our nurses for the compassionate care provided to the county's patients. The nursing profession is as important today as it has ever been and we will celebrate the impact that modern day nurses make to healthcare.

"As somebody who is a nurse by background, I am deeply proud of the way in which our staff from a vast range of disciplines work together to deliver exactly the right care, where and when patients need it most."

"NCHC's staff manage the county's community hospitals and deliver a range of services which are delivered in community clinics and in people's own homes.

"Florence Nightingale is a symbol of pioneering nursing and I am delighted that, in Norfolk, we are at the forefront of this ethos; we are unafraid of breaking new ground in the pursuit of improving support for our patients.

"It is clear to me that for so many colleagues, working in healthcare isn't just a job, it is a calling. On behalf of the Trust, and patients across the county, I'd like to thank Norfolk's nurses for their dedication and care."

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