Critical Care, it’s more than just bleeping monitors….
Get Andrew Dodman talking about nursing and his love for Critical Care and you’ll be there a while but you can’t help but be drawn in by the way he talks about his profession.
Andrew’s love affair with nursing started at a young age
‘I knew from about the age of 12 that I wanted to be a nurse, there was never any other option in my head, apart from Egyptology and working with dinosaurs when I was much younger. My parents were incredibly supportive, my mum especially and when it came to choosing my O level options at school and I knew the subjects that would lead to nursing were the thing for me.’
After working hard in school and doing a paper round from the age of twelve and a half to keep him busy, at 17 Andrew enlisted onto a Youth Training Scheme in a care home, he was lucky enough to work with a matron who knew the head of nurse training at Birch Hill Hospital who’d seen his potential and encouraged him to apply for nursing. He went from care assistant on a Saturday to nurse trainee on the Monday and never looked back.
Having qualified as a Registered Nurse in 1990, Andrew spent time learning as much as he could about being a staff nurse and delivering the best possible care to his Critical Care patients and successfully gained a Charge nurse post in 2001. During his time as a Charge nurse he worked across both Fairfield General and the Royal Oldham hospitals but Fairfield always welcomed him back.
‘July 15th 2014 was my first shift at Fairfield as a charge nurse with a new team, the day after was my birthday and on the second shift there was a card and cake waiting for me, they were incredibly welcoming and supportive from the start. The teams at Fairfield are some of the most thoughtful and kind people I’ve had the pleasure to work with.’
The Ward Manager role followed in 2015 and on 2nd October 2017 Andrew was successfully appointed to a new Critical Care Matron role.
‘It was never in my plan to be a senior nurse, I’d come into nursing wanting to be at the bedside supporting relatives and patients but I’m absolutely loving my new role. The chance to get more involved corporately and lead positive changes is an honour.’
So what’s great about Critical Care?
‘It can sometimes feel like our department is the tiniest cog in this big NHS wheel, but whether a patient does well in our care or not, we have a massive impact on both patients and relatives lives. It’s not without its challenges, a different kind of nursing applies here in that a lot of our care is delivered through the support of highly technical equipment and our interactions are often more with relatives than patients however, it’s an incredibly rewarding and worthwhile specialty to work in.’
When asked for his advice for newly qualified nurses:
‘Jump at every opportunity you get with both feet and keep trying! Critical Care is a popular specialty and can often be difficult to get into but if that’s where your heart is don’t give up.’