Date of release: 12 May 2021
Just like with International Day of the Midwife, we’re keen to use International Nurses Day as an opportunity to challenge the stereotypes around nursing, particularly around it being associated as a ‘female profession’. Nursing Degree Apprentice Robert Day-Smith is one individual challenging that perception!
After a number of years working for a plumbing business, an injury led Robert to thinking a career change was needed. And after some encouragement from his wife to try out work as a healthcare assistant in Dudley, Rob soon discovered how much he enjoyed working in a caring role.
The 56-year-old explained: “I wasn’t too sure about how I’d feel about healthcare, but to my surprise I really enjoyed it. I started my NVQ level 3 in nursing while at Russells Hall Hospital and it went from there!
“I really like the practical side of nursing and engaging with people. I’m on an apprenticeship now at RWT so I’m picking up new skills every day. I can’t give medication just yet but I’ve been enjoying assisting the nurses and offering emotional support – this has been critical during the pandemic as many people have felt particularly anxious and scared while in hospital.”
One at 17 nurse degree apprentices on placement at the Trust, Robert has rotated across a number of areas of the Trust, now finding himself on the hospital’s cardiology ward.
“I think because of the national guidance restricting visitors to hospital it has meant patients confide in you that little bit more,” he said. “They want to talk to you because their loved ones aren’t there and in that sense you’re supporting all angles of their wellbeing; offering reassurance so they feel calm and supported, as well as physically fit.”
During the first wave of the pandemic, back in 2020, Robert found himself out in the community supporting people in their homes – this included everything from changing bandages, administering injections and monitoring ongoing care. Here he found “a social element” to nursing that involves chatting to people in their own environment and learning about their lives.
“It’s been about enabling them to feel comfortable in their own homes,” he said.
“I enjoy nursing because every day I go home thinking I’ve done something good that day for someone else; I’ve helped them on the road to recovery.
“The International Nurses Day campaign is about respecting the nursing profession and not taking it for granted. I’m really proud to be a part of it.”