She’s clocked up almost 50 NHS years in Walsall and Manor Hospital Theatre Nurse Diane Shaw insists she’s loved her “rewarding” career.
“I always wanted to help people, from a very early age,” explained the mother-of-two, who lives in Great Wyrley. “I love the fact that I can do something to make a difference – to help towards a patient having a good experience with us.”
Diane Started her nursing career as a Cadet Nurse at Stafford General Infirmary, followed by SEN Training at Sister Dora School of Nursing in Walsall in 1967. This was followed by SRN training before her training as an Operating Department Practitioner (ODP). She then studied for her Nursing Diploma, graduating from Wolverhampton University to complete her academic achievements.
“We were asked to assist in Theatre and I remember the first time I was asked to I shrank back into the wall, wishing it would swallow me up!” she recalls. “But you keep a clear head and stay calm in order to help the surgeons and I found a real interest in doing this. It was the direction I wanted my nursing career to take.”
Theatre Nurses assist in the pre-operative stage when patients are informed about their procedure and prepared for their surgery, the anaesthetic stage when the patient is put to sleep under general anaesthetic or has part of their body numbed under local anaesthetic, the surgical stage when the operation is being carried out and the recovery stage when the patient is transferred on to a ward or unit. Diane assists with around eight cases a day.
Diane, who is aged 69, actually retired at the age of 60 but has come back to work at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust for two days a week.
“There’s no job like it, I absolutely love it,” she said.
“When I was younger and came home to my parents I couldn’t talk about what sort of day I had a t work because they were too squeamish and didn’t want to hear. I’ve never been affected by the sights and sounds of surgery and just find it a really rewarding job being a Theatre Nurse.
“I have worked with some truly lovely people over the years and have learned a lot from them too. We are like a family and that means a lot.
“I concentrate more on anaesthetics and recovery now and do my best to make patients feel as comfortable and cared for as possible. I always go up to the wards after surgery to check on the patients who I have helped anaesthetise to see how they’re doing and wish them well.”
Diane, who is a grandmother, admits that there can be tough times in Theatre too.
“Over the years there have been so many medical advances with a much better range of diagnostic tests than were available when I came into nursing. Patients are living well a lot longer with complex conditions that would have lessened their life expectancy previously. But I have had those tough times when a surgeon has started to operate on a patient and found far greater health problems than expected and you all know that the outcome is not going to be good for that patient. That’s really difficult.”
Away from work, Diane enjoys quality time with husband Garry and pet Miniature Schnauzer Lewis. She also spends her time with granddaughters Hannah, Evie and Chloe, and grandson William.
Her elder daughter Laura also works for Walsall Healthcare in the Orthoptic Department, while younger daughter Gemma is employed at the headquarters of a major national retail group.
Diane added: “My husband and family have always been really supportive of my work and when I’m not at the Manor I really miss it which is credit to all the fantastic teams I work with.”