Sliding doors at Ilkeston Community Hospital …with Nicola Kirk-Pitts
A few months ago a lovely post appeared on the DCHS Trust Facebook page from a DCHS colleague sharing her good news “I was really inspired by a story in the previous edition I was reading, I am newly qualified and due to come back to DCHS in September – it feels like home!” We liked the post and we knew we needed to meet this lady and find out more!
Hi Nicola, we have heard you have been pretty busy over the last few years - tell me a bit about what you have been up to?
Oh gosh where to start… it has been a wonderful six year journey!! I used to work for DCHS here at Ilkeston Community Hospital in a non-clinical role within the central appointments team, which I loved. However, I then decided I wanted to change career paths completely into a clinical role and train to be a nurse!
So for the first three years I learnt whilst still working here, as I was a mature student, I had to retake my GCSEs and complete my Access to Nursing course first. Then I left my job and went to Derby University to undertake my degree course full time for three years.
Now I am back, at Ilkeston Community Hospital right where I started, working as a staff nurse on Hopewell Ward! Exciting right?!
Wow! So what actually made you want to change your career?
My mum. Back in late 2010 she was really poorly and sadly we had such a bad experience with the care she received.
I just thought you know what, patients are all someone’s mum, dad, brother, sister or child etc. and they deserve so much better. I could be that person… I was going to be that person, to deliver the best care possible for patients and exactly what they all deserved. That was it – the turning point for me and here I am!
What a great reason for change (under the circumstances). How did you find the training?
Well, firstly as my GCSEs were out of date – due to my age! – I had to retake those at Ilkeston College to be able to get onto the Access to Nursing course at Derby University.
I found this part both exciting and challenging as I still worked in the central appointments team, but I received so much support from my work friends!
I was then lucky enough to be offered a place at two different universities; I visited both and did my research to make sure I went to the right one for me. I chose to go to Derby University for my full time nursing degree, as the lecturers were so supportive, but I’ll be honest, it was the library that swung it for me!!
What did your family and friends think?
I am so lucky that I have such a supportive network: family, friends and colleagues, everyone was so pleased for me. My parents and father in law were so positive and my husband and two sons always say I make them proud. I think they were all just as excited as I was!
Did you want to come back to DCHS once you had completed your training …or was it just a matter of finding a job?
Wanted to?! I knew I would come back to DCHS and to Ilkeston Community Hospital, right back where I started in the heart of the community! It feels like home here, you don’t feel like a number, we are all involved and part of the wider team. I have so much passion for DCHS, their vision and values are everything I believe in and replicate my own personal vision and values too. I have been able to easily transfer these within my nurse training and will continue within my nursing career as I am an advocate of always going the extra mile!
We are so pleased you chose to come back Nicola! So, what is the biggest difference you are finding now you are working as a clinician?
The accountability! Then, time management is a close second. It is all about making sure the patient has the most positive experience they deserve within their personal journey.
I will never stop learning as a nurse. All the staff here on Hopewell and Heanor Wards are so kind and compassionate towards our patients and supportive with staff. They always have time for you – no matter how busy we all are and I am constantly told no question is a stupid question!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Confidence as a mature student; but over the past six years my confidence has grown and grown, and I am sure will continue to, as I start my new chapter here as a clinician.
There have been lots of obstacles in the way throughout my journey, which you are forever jumping over, like the guilt as a parent and losing half our household income, but you get by and look at me now! My boys have already spent my first pay packet before I have it and have asked me for some new football boots as a ‘new job treat’!!!