A care home nurse celebrating 25 years in her job has been hailed as a coronavirus warrior after the toughest year of her career.
Susan Bond is a senior nurse at Highfield residential home, part of the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham, and says the residents and fellow staff are like one big family.
She said: “We’re a team and we all look after and care about one another. This is where I belong career-wise. I felt it from day one and this year more than ever.
“Any nurse who has worked through the last 12 months dealing with the threats of Coronavirus knows it has been doubly hard.
“There have been so many stresses the like of which we’ve never experienced before and it’s safe to say that I never for one moment thought I’d be marking my quarter of a century in nursing in the midst of a global pandemic.
“But nursing is my natural vocation and I cannot think of anything else I’d rather do.”
Susan, 47, of Wrexham, followed her mother’s footsteps into the medical profession, having been inspired by her as a child.
She said: “Mum trained at Rhyl’s Alexandra Hospital and as I was growing up I remember thinking to myself that I would one day like to do that too. I wanted to be able to care for people and help make them feel better like she did.”
But when she had completed her own nurse training in Manchester Susan did not for one minute envisage working at a care home.
She said: “I always thought I would go onto the wards in a hospital. I had never even thought about care home nursing as a possibility for me. But then just as I was looking for my first full time job a post came up here at Pendine Park. It was quite a new facility in those days and smaller than it is now. I applied and I was delighted when I got the job. It was like it was meant to be, close to home in Wrexham and immediately I felt there was a genuine family feel here. I’ve never regretted not going into a hospital role.”
Highfield residential home Manager Tracey Smith said Susan is a perfect fit for Pendine Park.
She said: “She is so good with our residents and has a great relationship with them. She is a super nurse, extremely skilled and competent, she has a natural affinity with her patients and she always gives 100 per cent.
“We could not ask for a better nurse and she has been remarkably dedicated during this difficult year for all. She’s a real Coronavirus warrior.”
Susan said: “Working in a world where the dangers of Covid are ever present has been an immense challenge on a practical and emotional level. But we’ve all stepped up and put our patients first. We’ve learned new skills and supported each other throughout this crisis. “There’s no question it has been tough and on occasions exhausting, but throughout all the lockdowns and restrictions I’ve always been confident that I can depend on my colleagues and that we would all give everything it takes to keep our residents as safe as possible.”
She said it feels amazing to think she has been in the role for 25 years, adding: “But this is the sort of place where people stay. There are a few of us who started around the same time and shortly after me so there will be a few more anniversaries coming up.
“Maybe we should bake a cake!” she laughed.
Susan enjoys the chance to build a rapport with her patients, many of whom are at Pendine Park long term, and to follow through on their treatment regimes.
She and the team currently have more than 60 patients in their care, dealing with everything from chronic and degenerative conditions, to dressings and general first aid.
She said: “It was a smaller place when I first started in 1996, but it has been extended at a slow pace and with a lot of thought going into the overall design. It has lost none of its family feel.
“I love to hear about our residents’ life stories and to chat with them about their past jobs, hobbies and family lives. It is a much more personal environment than a hospital. It is important for us to remember that for most patients this is their home and they and their families need to feel comfortable knowing we are around.”
She said chatting to them and endeavouring to keep their spirits up has been more important than ever this last year as they have not had the chance to see their families in person.
She said: “We have rallied together, sometimes helping residents communicate with their families through social media devices and video calls, and we have tried to make our own entertainment for them when possible.”