In Conversation With...Elizabeth Obisesan
We know there are lots of very interesting people in our Trust, whether through your work, your interests or your hobbies outside work. We want to get to know you and share your story.
This week we spoke to Elizabeth Obisesan, senior sister and manager of our Ambulatory Care Unit.
Lives: In Chafford Hundred with her husband and three children, Mary, Emmanuel and Abigail.
And: Before joining the NHS, Elizabeth had a glamorous career as a TV presenter at home in Nigeria – including being picked up by a driver to take her to work each day!
Tell us a bit more about your role at our Trust
Ambulatory Care is a very busy unit. We help to take pressure off our A&E by seeing patients who don’t need emergency care, but do need to be seen quickly.
We also take calls from GPs to give advice on whether their patients need to go to A&E if it’s life threatening, or if they should come to ambulatory care.
We hear that nursing wasn’t your first choice of career...
I went to university at home in Nigeria and did a mass communication degree as I wanted to be a presenter. I always used to play around when I was little, using a water bottle as my microphone pretending I was presenting – I had lots of confidence!
I worked on a TV channel in Nigeria after university. At first I was helping behind the scenes, then someone called in sick one day and I got my chance to present. I knew it was what I wanted to do, so I continued working there as a presenter for the next couple of years.
I moved to the UK with my husband after I got married. It was quite a change work-wise; as a presenter I used to have a driver to take me into work, over here I had to drive myself!
I did a computer science course and found I really liked it and I started working for a company in London, designing advertisements for them.
Then my aunt, who also lives in the UK, got sick. She’s like a mum to me. It was seeing the care she received from the HCAs and nurses that made me want to be a nurse. They were so good with her, speaking to her so softly and really listening to her. That was it for me.
I went to King’s College to do my nursing training and I’ve never regretted it. I studied full time and was really lucky to have the support of my family.
I did a work placement in maternity, and, as I love babies, it made me want to be a midwife. I did an extra 18 months midwifery training straight after my nursing course. However, I struggled as it was emotionally involving and if the babies had to go to NICU, it was hard not knowing how they were and if they were getting better.
So I went back to nursing, starting in the Renal Unit at King’s College Hospital. I also managed the Coronary Care Unit at Lewisham Hospital.
What about your time at our Trust?
I came to our Trust 17 years ago after we moved from London to Essex. I started at Oldchurch Hospital in 2002.
The Trust has been fantastic in giving me opportunities to progress, as I love to do new things. I was sponsored to train to become an orthopaedic specialist nurse; I’ve also worked in our Outpatients Oncology department.
I was one of the first in our Trust to train as an advanced nurse practitioner, which I completed in 2010, then I got involved in our virtual ward, which started when we needed to free up beds. It allows us to send home patients who are well enough and are just awaiting scan results, for example. Patients love it as they want to be at home.
Then I joined ambulatory care around four years ago. We’re now looking into making changes to improve ambulatory care which I’m really excited about.
What’s the best thing about being a nurse?
I love the patients. They are all someone’s sibling, parent or loved one, and we could all be patients ourselves one day.
Giving good care is my passion and I’m proud to be a nurse.
I love the simple things like when a patient says thank you. And listening to patients is the start of providing the best care, as they all have different needs - that’s stuck with me ever since I was in hospital with my aunt.
I still love to present and I get to do it at weekends. I’m part of a panel on a talk show with Noble TV station. It’s a private station based in London.
It can be difficult to find time to fit everything in, but because these are my passions I don’t see them as burdens.
Do have time for anything else outside work and presenting?
I love music and singing. I’ve been singing ever since I was a little girl and I love gospel. I’m part of my church choir at the Christ Apostolic Church in Dagenham.
I also set up my own, all female choir in 2015, Kingdom Daughters, and we meet regularly to practice.
As I love singing so much, I decided to self-release my own album in 2015, and I released a single in 2018. I’m working on my next album to be released in 2020; I’m hoping to get signed by a record label for this one.
My family are really supportive and encouraged me to release my own music.