This May 12 marks 197 years since the birth of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. Every year on her birthday, International Nurses Day celebrates the vital work of nurses worldwide.
At Ashfield, we’ve been supporting pharmaceutical and healthcare companies with nurse-led clinical services across a huge range of therapeutic areas for more than 16 years. Ashfield nurses are at the heart of these services – and at the heart of our vision to help improve the lives of patients. We’re incredibly proud of their expertise, dedication and genuine passion.
This International Nurses Day, we wanted to celebrate the hard work of our very own nurse heroes by sharing some of their stories with you.
Taking the time to make lives better
A better life can mean different things to different people. For one chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patient in the US, it meant more time with his grandchild. An Ashfield nurse, Tina Mitchell, helped to make it happen. She tells us their story:
“While I was visiting a patient, he told me nobody had ever really taken the time to sit down with him and explain what was going on with his body. He said the time I spent with him meant a great deal because he’d been on death’s door several times and didn’t know how best to help himself. He wanted to understand his condition better – and learn ways to improve his own quality of life.
“I discovered he’d been using the wrong technique with his inhaler, wasting several doses. He also hadn’t been using it every day, and was only taking one puff instead of two. When I explained all this, he said he was thankful the company who makes his medicine could provide a nurse to help him understand his disease, teach him breathing exercises and show him how to use his inhaler properly.
“We did a follow up after 30 days and the patient told me he’d begun to breathe better less than a week after I taught him the right inhaler technique. Because he’d been feeling and breathing better, he’d been able to do more too. He’d even been picking up his grandchild from school and enjoying more of the things he hadn’t been able to do before.
“He was very capable of taking care of himself but just needed someone to take the time to correct what he was doing wrong. I really believe what we do with COPD patients in their own homes as clinical educators is making a big difference to their lives.”
Going above and beyond
Carron Congreve, a rheumatology nurse at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, got in touch to tell us how the actions of one of our nurses in the UK, Aine Redfern-Walsh, had helped to save a patient’s life:
“Aine went to the patient’s house to teach her how to administer an injection. The patient had a persistent chest infection and her GP had prescribed more antibiotics and sent her for an X-ray. Aine called to let us know, which meant we could check the X-ray results and make a speedy diagnosis. Sadly it wasn’t just a chest infection, and without Aine’s intervention it could have taken a long time for it to come to our attention, delaying the patient’s treatment.
“Our consultants have asked us to make this special mention of Aine’s dedication. It’s not the first time she’s gone above and beyond for our patients. She’s also been working with our clinical psychologist and recently helped a needle phobic patient have her first injection. If medals were being given out, Aine would get a gold. We’re so grateful for what your nurses do.”
Aine explains: “As an Ashfield nurse, working in close partnership with the NHS means really living the Ashfield values. It’s about providing high quality support to the people who rely on us the most: our patients. Doing that little bit extra for somebody can make a huge difference to their experience of care, and for me that’s a hugely rewarding aspect of my role.”
An unforgettable patient
With more than 15 years’ experience, Leandro Gila Torres, one of our nurses in Spain, has cared for a huge number of patients, but there’s one he’ll never forget.
“I visited this elderly patient at home every day to provide physical and respiratory physiotherapy for his condition,” Leandro explains. “He didn’t like to exercise, so I invented games to make it more fun. For six long months we worked together to recover his muscles and finally he became independent.
“He lived with his wife and you could tell they’d been together for a lifetime. Sadly, not long after my patient regained his independence, his wife died. I did my best to keep him motivated and still doing his exercises, and one night he thanked me for all my hard work and caring to get him walking again. That night he died in his sleep and I really believe it was from grief. My patient taught me a valuable lesson: you have to live every day as if it was your last and enjoy every happiness life gives you.”
Thank you to the nurses who’ve shared their stories to celebrate International Nurses Day – and to all of our Ashfield nursing heroes. You make such a difference to patients’ lives.
You can find out more about the patient services we provide at Ashfield by clicking on the link below, or by contacting Nagore Fernandez, Head of Patient Services for Europe and Canada.