Inspiration from the frontline staff

Laura Butler.   District Nurse Sister
Laura Butler. District Nurse Sister

NEARLY 6,000 nurses work on the very frontline of healthcare in Sheffield, helping people in hospitals, clinics and in their own homes.

To celebrate International Nurses Week, The Star is exploring what nurses do and what drives them to get up every day to do one of the hardest jobs around.

The week culminates on May 12, the birth date of one Florence Nightingale – the most famous nurse in history. Around the world nurses are being recognised for the life-saving and tireless support they give to their patients.

And every day this week, as part of our series celebrating the unsung heroes of the NHS, we will profile a different nurse working in Sheffield.

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Throughout my career I have had the privilege of working with countless nurses in Sheffield who go above and beyond the call of duty to provide the best standard of care for patients.”

Hilary, who began her nursing career as a trainee at the Northern General Hospital, before rising to become chief operating officer of the trust, added: “I have been inspired by the dedication of nurses at all levels and I know many underestimate their own work and the improvements to services they make.

“I am delighted their commitment to patients is being celebrated during International Nurses Week.”

Rewarding days in ‘wonderful job’

DISTRICT nurse Laura Butler used to have dreams of being a Hollywood star.

“When I was growing up I wanted to be an actress,” said the 27-year-old, from Woodseats, Sheffield.

But when Laura was doing her A-levels, growing up in Bentley, Doncaster, her gran suffered a heart attack.

“It was caring for my grandmother that made me want to become a nurse,” Laura said.

She enrolled in a nursing course at Sheffield Hallam University and now - after stints at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and as a community staff nurse - she works as a district nurse sister at Birley Health Centre.

“Nursing is a wonderful profession,” she said. “It is so worthwhile and so fulfilling.

“District nursing is about bringing healthcare to patients who are housebound.

“It is about keeping people healthy and keeping them at home, out of hospital. We are supporting independence and self-care.”

A large part of Laura’s job is treating people at the very end of their lives, allowing them to die at home.

“I love that part of my job,” she said. “To give someone a comfortable ending to life, in their own home, surrounded by their family, is so rewarding.”

Laura is a big advocate for the NHS, especially since it has given her such good opportunities.

Since she gave up on her acting dreams she has progressed from a student to staff nurse and then to her current role as a district nurse sister.

Despite being just 27, Laura leads a team of nine nurses and other health professionals and is personally responsible for 500 patients.

“Sometimes I feel very young to be doing this, but I’ve got a great team and a really good support system.

“The NHS is so good at developing you professionally. I’ve met so many people who have pushed me, people who have made me think I could do anything I want, and that’s why I’m where I am today.”

Keeping nursing in the family: see The Star tomorrow.