To mark International Nurses’ Day (Thursday 12 May) we spoke to Rosemarie Stewart, one of our newly qualified nurses, about why she got into nursing and her experiences so far.
Rosemarie, from Dagenham, started as a staff nurse in the Emergency Department (ED) at Queen’s Hospital in September 2021, having dreamed of becoming a nurse since she was a little girl.
“Growing up, I used to play ‘doctors and nurses’ and I always used to say I wanted to be a nurse!” she said.
However, Rosemarie put her dream on hold to focus on raising her family.
“I had my first child when I was quite young,” she said. “Pretty much all my life, I chose my career to fit around my two boys.”
Rosemarie worked as a teaching assistant and for an agency that provided home care.
“I love caring for others and seeing the impact it has on their lives so those jobs were great for me. But once my children were older, I wanted to follow what I was passionate about and I knew this was the path for me.”
In 2018, Rosemarie applied to study nursing and was accepted to do her training at the University of East London (UEL).
“BHRUT was my home Trust while I was studying at UEL. During the first wave of the pandemic, I joined the Trust as an advanced healthcare assistant, working for four months on Covid wards. In the second wave, I was a final year student and I worked in Intensive Therapy Unit, again with Covid-19 patients.”
After completing her studies, Rosemarie joined as a permanent member of staff and was delighted to start working in our ED.
“In my interview to get into university, I said I wanted to work in ED, and I said it throughout my training as well. I never had a placement in ED, but it was the area I strongly wanted to go into.
“I wanted to be one of those faces that people see when they come through the door initially and even though they’re having the hardest time – they’re coming in because they’re not well – they will still see someone that will make them feel a little bit better at the start of their hospital journey. And that’s what I try to do every single day for every patient I interact with.
“I had a cancer patient who came into ED a couple of weeks ago. He said he’d given up and felt like he couldn’t talk about it at home, which meant he had extra emotional stress. I was talking to him and made him laugh. He told me it was the first time he’d laughed in more than a week and I’d put a smile on his face.
“He opened up, and he laughed, talked, and cried in the space of five minutes. He thanked me at the end and said our conversation helped him more than any medication could. That’s what nursing is about, showing people that you care for them, and that will stay with me for life.”
Rosemarie says she’s loved every minute of working in ED and always looks forward to starting her shift. At 38-years-old, she joined us a little later than most nurses and says she’d encourage others to make the career switch if they feel passionate about caring for others.
“If you have a genuine heart for caring for others, if you have that empathy, and find that level of compassion in everything that you do, then this is definitely for you. It might not be the best paid job in the world, but it’s one of the most rewarding!”