I work nights, starting at 7pm and finishing at 7am. I begin the shift by doing an evening medication round, which is usually for around 35-40 people, and then I’m on hand to respond to any healthcare emergencies, where somebody is feeling ill or there is an incident of self-harm. My department is also a clinical substance misuse service, so we get a lot of prisoners abusing alcohol or opiate detoxes.
I’ve been with Virgin Care three years; prior to that I worked in the NHS for 24 years. Being a staff nurse at the prison is an enjoyable role but I have a lot of responsibility – I’m the only member of healthcare staff in the building overnight. Teamwork is really important when working in a prison. Healthcare workers like myself rely on the prison staff to keep us safe, and we’re also important to them, so there’s a lot of trust and respect involved.
In February this year, I went into work as normal but overnight the weather changed and, come the morning, we had three or four inches of snow on the ground. It affected people being able to get into work and several people were stuck in snow. I stayed behind until they were able to get into work after a couple of hours.
The bad weather continued during the day and that evening I went back into work earlier than usual so that the day shift staff could leave sooner and get home safely.
It was one of the clinical leads that nominated me for the Feel the Difference award – but he walked three or four miles into work himself that day. I was just doing my duty, I didn’t think anything of it at the time and I still don’t feel I did anything special, but it is nice to know that my actions were appreciated.
Jacqui is at gateway point now and preparing for the End Point Assessment of her Level 3 Senior Healthcare Worker Apprenticeship. She said, “From the first day my whole team have been supportive and encouraging. They want me to be the best I can be”.
Kim is currently halfway through her second year of the Level 5 Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeship. She said, “I would recommend this apprenticeship as a good opportunity to develop new skills and confidence.”
For this year’s National Apprenticeship week Sarah talks us through the challenges that learners have faced this year, and the benefits of apprenticeships for both the learners and their organisations.
Lead Nurse Amanda Pulford gives us an insight to what it’s like working in a prison.