Nurses Day is the UK’s biggest Nursing Party, we’re celebrating by acknowledging the contribution and valuable work done by nurses who work across our services. We’d like to say THANK YOU to all the nurses who we work with, we salute you.

Please read on about Maria & Haydn…

Maria Dadzie RN,MSc, BSc

I work as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in a GP Surgery in Lewisham; I am also the lead Nurse for the GP Extended Access Service run by One Health Lewisham.

I first became interested in nursing as a teenager when I visited my ill father in hospital, the nurses were kind and professional and my father had nothing but praise for how well they looked after him.  He kept saying he thought I would make a good nurse and encouraged me to speak to the Sister on the ward to find out how to become a nurse.  I had the information and knew what I needed to do but when it came to leave school, I got an office job, after a year I knew I wanted to do something different and applied to be a nurse. I have never regretted it. Almost 40 years later I am still passionate about nursing. No day is the same, the interaction with patients and the satisfaction of helping and caring for people makes it one of the best jobs, but I am biased.

I have been very lucky that when I was training to be a nurse and midwife, I had some good role models and mentors, that inspired me to be a good nurse, and honour the nurses’ professional code of practice.

Nursing has given me the opportunity to travel and work in different disciplines of nursing and be involved in projects to develop the Practice Nurse role at a local level.

I started off my nurse training at South Manchester School of Nursing – Wythenshawe Hospital,  I was one of two black student nurses in my year group. It was not easy but I have many good memories of my training and since then, the diversity of the nursing workforce has changed.  Once qualified, I worked on a chest medical ward for 6 months before starting my midwifery training in Leeds. I was a midwife for 9 years in London which I thoroughly enjoyed and is a very special and privileged job.  I then went to work in Canada as an obstetric nurse for over a year, where the nursing culture was different but the basics are the same, except that we could not officially deliver the babies, although I did manage to deliver one as the baby boy could not wait for the doctor to arrive.

When I finished my contract, I was able to travel all around Canada and USA with some other nurses, we had a fantastic time. When I came back to the UK, I decided I would apply for nursing jobs as I wanted a change. A friend recommended working in a GP Practice as is was new growing field, I saw an advert in a local paper, applied and was offered the job and have never looked back.

Practice nursing is unique in that we see patients of all ages and get to know whole families. My role has developed exponentially, I studied and trained in advanced nurse practice and become a Nurse Practitioner Prescriber with special interest in sexual health and diabetes. I have also held roles in Practice Nurse Development and as a Practice Nurse Advisor for the CCG. Practice nursing has an aging workforce and we need to encourage new recruits to nursing in general. There are so many opportunities and disciplines in nursing from being a director, educator, researcher, and clinical nurse.  I would encourage anyone thinking about becoming a nurse to speak to nurses.

I am proud to be a nurse and pleased we have a day to celebrate our profession.

Haydn Sampson BSc

Haydn is our Diabetic Specialist Nurse, he provides clinical support to patients living with diabetes to improve their health outcomes through advice about medicine adherence and optimization as well as diet and lifestyle changes.  Haydn is part of our diabetes team who recently exceeded targets to improve the Diabetes 3TT and 8 care pathways in Lewisham. Our GP 3TT Diabetes pilot work is a finalists for the HSJ Patients Safety Awards in the Clinical Governance and Risk Management.

Haydn has been a nurse for over 20 years. As a child he had an interest in medicine and wanted to be a doctor.  After successfully completing his ‘o’ levels, an opportunity to train as a nurse came up and he applied and won a bursary to train as a nurse at Kings College Hospital, London.

After his training he worked as a nurse on a number of wards across a variety of disciplines including high dependency, theatre and intensive care. He used this time to explore which area of nursing he wanted to follow.  He decided that he wanted to try community nursing, so he completed a specialist degree in District and Community Nursing.

Following graduation, Haydn secured a job as team leader in Lambeth, he oversaw a team of 5/6 district nurses working in the community.  This role involved motivating the team and coordinating the care for a portfolio of patients within the community. He undertook discharge planning with the hospital and other nursing interventions such as palliative care. During this time he developed an interest in Diabetes care. He pursued a career in this field and took on the role of Diabetes Nurse Advisor for a healthcare organisation. In this role, he worked with practices to deliver educational programmes to support diabetes patients using a programme called ‘Warwick insulin for life’.  He discovered he had a passion for diabetes care. He developed management skills through managing clinics and workload as well as providing clinical support to patients. Alongside this he led workshops with primary care staff to up-skill them in Insulin initiation.

Later he became a diabetes specialist working for a pharmaceutical company, where he devised and delivered Diabetes development educational days and workshops for primary care staff. He also worked closely with the local primary care trust to develop clinical pathways for diabetes care, which gave him the opportunity to broaden his skills and experience by working alongside commissioners. He took on a couple more roles as a Diabetic Nurse Specialist around London before joining the OHL team in 2018 and has created his own company that provides diabetes training and services in Brent, Barnet, Lewisham and Southwark.

Nursing has been a very rewarding career for Haydn, because he loves to work to target and encourage and motivate performance. He can see the benefits of his work and the positive outcomes for his patients.

What’s the best thing about being a nurse?

Nursing has offered Haydn both professional growth as well as personal growth. He loves working with people so this career has allowed him to apply his medical knowledge and support patients in a personable way. This is a key skill for any good nurse.

 Why you might recommend being a nurse?

Haydn said: “I would definitely recommend becoming a nurse, it’s a fantastic opportunity to develop as a person and to help others which is very satisfying. I get a buzz everyday and no two days are the same. Nursing is so vast and varied, so it is important to identify the area that interests you most. I am so lucky to have found my passion and been able to pursue a career in this field. I hope I can be a role model to young black people and inspire them to consider a career in nursing.