Christa's experience as a nurse in England

Christa started working in Cheltenham in April 2016. Now she answered some questions about her experiences and living in the UK.

How is your life in Cheltenham?

The city centre of Cheltenham is very cosy! There are always a lot of people on the streets. There are a lot of modern shops in the city centre, for example Primark. The city is not a remote village in the United Kingdom.When I arrived to the hospital I was taken care of straight away and they gave me support and an introduction. Also they made sure to provide my keys to my temporary room.This room was arranged by the hospital. It can be compared to a (sister flat). The accommodation is close to the hospital. The hospital is fairly big and it is a nice hospital where you work together with a variety of people.

You seem to live in a very nice house? How did you arrange this house?

I first stayed at the accommodation provided by the hospital in the first month. After that I decided to search for another house, because I found the room small and it didn’t have a living room.

For a while I lived together with other healthcare professionals. Then, after half a year when I met more people I decided to search for accommodation along with two Greek nurses. Currently, we live together in this cute house. The house is very conveniently located. It is only 2 minutes walking from my house to the hospital.

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Can you tell a bit more about your experience and life in Cheltenham?

Yes, I very much enjoy it here. I really like my team in the hospital.
I’m in the best team in the hospital so far. It is a very diverse team; I have colleagues from several countries including India and the Philippines.The team is young, so you are quickly assimilated into the group. We often go out at night for a drink in the pub. Furthermore I do fun activities in my free time on a regular basis with colleagues.

I also do fun activities with the nurses I live together with.

Besides that I started with sports. In the Netherlands I was always playing handball, which is quite popular there. In the UK it is less popular, but I found a nice handball team in the UK.

What are the main differences in the hospital in the UK in comparison to the hospitals in the Netherlands?

There is more hierarchy in British hospitals in comparison to the Netherlands. Everyone has his own task.As a care taker you take care of patients and you bring around food.After that a nurse will come to take care of all nursing tasks.

Which kinds of shifts do you have?

I’m usually on all kinds of shifts, day, night and late shifts. The night shift are 11 hours long, which can be very hard. The workload is quite high and sometimes we have to deal with staff shortages. The ward where I work has many demented people, who for example climb out of their beds. Every week approximately 2 people die, where great care is needed. This can of course be tough, but the team with great colleagues make it better.

As a nurse you have the option to work more shifts, which you can request. I usually get scheduled when I request extra shifts. I work fulltime which is 5 days. Every month you are allowed to take 4 days off. A benefit is that once you have taken a long shift you can take extra days off.

Do you have any training programs at work? If yes, how is it arranged?

One of the biggest benefits of the hospital is that it offers a lot of training programs.

When I started my job at the hospital I received a list of training programs which I could take when I started as a Healthcare assistant. These training courses included usage of NHS hospital bed lifts, general introduction, CPR trainings, and aggression trainings.

After those training courses I will receive a training program including; IV injections and medication rounds.

Also, you can take extra courses, for example pain management, dementia care and terminal care.

The hospital always makes sure we receive appropriate information to make our work more effective.

I work on a ward with elderly with hip fractures. The hospital gives several training courses covering this topic. Even if you have no experience with hip fractures, which was the case for me, you could still work on this ward. This mainly because they make sure that you will have the information that you need to make your job more effective.

What do you do in your free time?

I try to travel regularly to Bristol, Birmingham and London. It is very easy to travel by bus. You can take the bus to London for 5 pounds for example.

I still have a wish to go hiking in Scotland. I am really impressed by the United Kingdom. I still get amazed by views in the UK when I’m driving around.

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What are the advantages of working in England?

The experience and to learn the language on a higher level. Besides that it is good on your CV. I’m also supported/guided in such a good way, that it makes it nice to gain more experience. I also like the shifts, because when I have a long shift, I am still finished early.

Are there any disadvantages of working in England?

We do all the paperwork by hand. This can be difficult at times especially when we have to read the handwriting of doctors. The hospital is working to introduce a new digital system. We don’t know yet when we will start with this digital system.

Do you have any tips for TMI nurses that wish to go to the UK?

Make sure that your paperwork is ready. The English IELTS exam is very crucial. Once you passed your IELTS exam it is crucial to send in all your papers to the NMC.

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