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Edith is one of the nurses on Edgar Stephen Ward, and is currently a Clinical Nurse Educator as well, training other nurses to do their best work. I managed to squeeze in a few minutes with Edith between orientation sessions and checking on families to ask her a few questions and find out what makes her tick.
The first thing you notice about Edith is her sunny personality. She exudes warmth and you can't help but smile back, especially when she starts talking about her job. Edith fell into cardiac nursing 11 years ago by accident but absolutely loves it and says she wouldn't want to work anywhere else now. She's happy to be in a surgical unit where there is a lot going on and patients with different needs keep you on your toes, and she loves being able to work with patients of diverse ages (although she professes a soft spot for 4-5 year olds who you can have particularly fun interactions with). And while she gets on with all patients, Edith told me that there are a few that just 'touch your heart'. One such patient, Liam*, was in and out of hospital a lot so, as with many long-term patients, Edith and the other nurses got to know him and his family quite well. She points out that it is being able to make a difference in a difficult stage in someone's life that is so amazing about the job. Liam went through a lot, including numerous hospitalisations for heart problems and other health issues, but he was what Edith calls 'a beautiful soul' and full of character. She said you notice this about a lot of kids who can't express themselves physically as much because their heart condition makes it hard for them to run around - that they make up for it in other ways. They are often feisty, full of personality and are constantly making people smile and laugh. She points out that everyone has bad days, but these particular kids, like Liam, will come up with the funniest things that lift everyone's spirits. It's hard not to get attached to such patients.
Edith tells me that she loves the team she works in and that working in a children's hospital keeps her young because you have to stay playful and maintain the child in you. Lastly, she offers me a little tip of advice for the wider community when it comes to choosing a job - find the good in what you're doing. Watching Edith look around her in Edgar Stephen Ward, you can see that she knows what a difference she is making. And the day after I met with Edith, her words are still ringing in my ears - find the good in what you're doing and stay close to it. For me that is meeting with patients, families and staff like Edith, who don't just survive difficult times but thrive and go on to light up the world.
*Name changed for privacy reasons