News from 2016

Catch up with the latest news from Cavell Nurses' Trust or browse the archive of news below.

Cavell News - December 2016

By the end of 2016, we will have received 1,900 enquiries for help.

That's 36% more than last year.

With your help, we have reached more nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who are suffering hardship.

With your generosity we've been able to support them, getting money to these amazing nursing professionals and lifting them out of crisis.

Thank you. And in 2017 we want to help more people - and we need your help!


We've had a brilliant response to our research into hardship amongst nurses with hundreds of people reading the survey report and requesting an Action Pack.

Thank you if you've had a chance to get involved - could you share this with friends and colleagues and spread the word on how they can get involved too? 

If you haven't yet read the report - find out more, click below...

Become a Cavell Angel

Our research has shown that nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants are twice as likely than the public to suffer financial hardship. This is appalling.

So in the run up to Christmas, we're asking people to consider donating a few pounds to help nursing professionals who are struggling.

  • £5 helps a nurse suffering cancer travel to get treatment
  • £15 helps to cover one week's electricity bill for a retired nurse
  • £50 helps provide clothes for a nurse who's lost weight after serious illness

Everyone that donates to Cavell Nurses' Trust before Christmas receives an exclusive Cavell Angel badge. To donate, click below...


We're really looking forward to 2017 and hope you will be a part of the support team that helps Cavell Nurses' Trust provide vital funds and help to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who need it. 

There are so many reasons people contact us for help - illness, disability, older age, domestic abuse - and we'll all at some point in our lives meet a nurse.

If you believe we should be here for nurses, have a look at all the ways you could get involved.


Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all the Cavell team!

Chief Executive's blog

The report is live!

by John Orchard, Chief Executive, Cavell Nurses' Trust

I’m plonked on a train to London as I write this. I’m traveling to the Nursing Times Awards and we’re very excited to be the charity being supported with donations at the event. 

It’s been fascinating to share in the response to “Skint, shaken yet still caring, but who is caring for our nurses?”, a report into the hardship nurses in the UK are facing, day in, day out.

The report shows that not only are nurses twice as likely to suffer financial hardship, but are three times more likely to face domestic abuse than the public.

Briefly, I need to say a big thank you to the team at Cavell Nurses’ Trust, including our wonderful trustees and patrons. They are an incredibly dedicated, thoughtful, kind and motivated bunch.

Shocked, sad, appalled

These words have come up again and again following the release of the report.

Motivated to act

It’s our job to turn those emotions into positive change. Whether we’re talking about the feelings of people who turn to Cavell Nurses’ Trust for help in a crisis, or people reacting to the report.

So it’s heartening to see that people are taking action. On the day of the launch, we were contacted by several companies, within the first couple of hours, who wanted to get involved with fundraising and awareness raising.

Hundreds of people have now downloaded the report, got action packs and generally got stuck in. Well done to everyone that's taken action.

We’re incredibly grateful because, if nothing else, “Skint, Shaken yet still caring.” revealed the scale of the problem Cavell Nurses’ Trust faces. We can do something significant about the hardship nurses are facing, but only together.

So. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

One big question

For me this all comes down to one, pretty big question. What kind of society do we want to live in? If we want to live in a society which cares for the people who care for us, then supporting Cavell Nurses’ Trust is a way to make that happen.


Growing support for nurses in need

A nurses’ charity has teamed up with The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) to provide £50,000 to support nurses suffering hardship and to celebrate young nursing talent in the UK.

Cavell Nurses’ Trust is a national charity that gives money and support to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age and has been able to use £25,000 of the donation from the NGS to help nurses like Michelle Quested.

Michelle, a neonatal cardiac nurse from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, suffered a back injury a few years ago that left her unable to walk, temporarily ending her nursing career.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair, she was determined to get back to nursing and had to overcome many obstacles. Cavell Nurses’ Trust was able to provide funding that meant Michelle’s manual wheelchair could be converted to an electric one, allowing her to return to the job that she is so dedicated to. Michelle says,

“The help I have received from Cavell Nurses’ Trust has been life changing. I’m a nurse through and through, it’s in my soul. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Financial support, like the NGS donation, ensures that nurses like Michelle can be supported back to work and prevent others from facing hardship. John Orchard, Chief Executive of Cavell Nurses’ Trust said, “We are extremely grateful to the NGS as generous donations like these provide vital support for nurses in difficulty. We hope to help at least 1,600 people this year so this support is crucial.”

The NGS also supports the annual Cavell Awards, a scheme that recognises and celebrates young nursing talent. The funding ensures that outstanding student nurses and midwives have the chance to further their learning by undertaking a work placement in their final year at university.

Martin McMillan, Chairman of the National Gardens Scheme said: “I am thrilled that the NGS is able to support nurses like Michelle, who are at the heart of our charities heritage, and show our continued support through the annual awards.”

Find out more about the National Gardens Scheme HERE

Watch Michelle's story here...

Michelle's story

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Joan's Run4Cavell

Joan became a nurse “by mistake” after originally wanting to be a physiotherapist. Growing up in Spain watching his beloved Barcelona football team, he was always interested in the physio that would run onto the pitch and get players back on their feet. He didn’t get the grades needed to study to be a physio but chose nursing instead.

During his twenty year nursing career, Joan (pronounced ‘Jo-anne’) has moved to the UK and worked in A&E, Intensive Care and Community Nursing and currently works as Clinical Lead for a clinical commissioning group, implementing technology to improve how patients manage their conditions and communicate with their GPs.

Joan's Run4Cavell

He’s always had boundless energy and has used this to great effect recently to support his nursing colleagues. On 29th May Joan ran the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon, raising money for Cavell Nurses’ Trust, supporting nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who are suffering hardship.

So why is he so committed to help his fellow nurses? A few years ago after his marriage ended Joan was struggling to juggle his finances, having to pay for extra rent on his new accommodation.

“I know how stressful it is to have to choose between paying the electricity bill, or buying food today. Then you get a letter from the landlord to say rent is due, it’s very easy to get into debt problems.”

Despite working overtime to try and cope, Joan’s situation didn’t improve. So he turned to a charitable organisation set up to help nurses, like Cavell Nurses’ Trust, called the RCN Foundation. They helped pay his rent arrears and got him back on his feet and he was so grateful.

“I said one day that I would give back to a charity that helped nurses, so I have chosen Cavell Nurses’ Trust.”

Joan named his marathon a 'Tweetathon' as he tweeted a message every mile, getting sponsorship for each mile and raising awareness about nurses suffering hardship.

He has raised a huge sum of £3,680 for nurses in need, an amazing effort!

“It’s been incredible, people are so generous. I have a lot of followers on Twitter, 19 thousand at the moment, so it made sense that I include social media in my marathon challenge. I was keen to make as much noise as possible for Cavell Nurses’ Trust.”

If you want to donate to Joan's JustGiving page click here 

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Fundraisers' stories

Special Achievement Award 2016

Nurses making a huge difference...

Three inspirational nurses from Wales have won a national award for their efforts to help burns victims in Bangladesh, including people who have been left scarred by horrific attacks using acid.

The Cavell Nurses’ Trust Special Achievement Award, sponsored by NEXT PLC, is presented to nurses who have made an outstanding contribution either to patient care or more broadly to their profession. Guest speaker Sally Gunnell OBE DL was on hand to present the award at the ceremony in London.

Dominique Navet, Sarah Reavenall and Danni Mehrez, all from the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital, have been recognised for their work to improve care for burns victims by Cavell Nurses’ Trust, a national charity that gives money and support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and students experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

The three nurses – who all volunteer their spare time and expertise through Interburns, the international network for training, education and research in burns – have designed a training course to improve treatment for burns victims in countries that lack specialist training and skills.

Earlier this year Dominique and Sarah flew to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, to deliver their training to burns nurses from all over the country, with support from the Dhaka-based Acid Survivors’ Association.

Dominique said:

“It was a wonderful surprise to find out we’d won the Cavell Nurses’ Trust Special Achievement Award, and it really means a lot to us. Seeing the incredible level of demand for burns treatment services in Dhaka was an eye-opener, and it was very fulfilling to see the impact our training had on the nurses present.”

Sarah said:

“There’s so much more we can do to improve the treatment of burns victims in low and middle income countries, and we’re very proud of the work being done through Interburns to counter the enormous suffering caused by burn injuries. It’s such an honour to receive this award and I hope it will help to raise awareness of the tremendous need for specialist burns training in low and middle income countries.”

Danni said:

“I’m really happy to be receiving this award from Cavell Nurses’ Trust, and I’m proud to have played a key role in developing the training course. It’s wonderful to think that through this work we’re able to help fellow nurses in other parts of the world, and ultimately to improve the standard of care for their patients.”

John Orchard, Chief Executive of Cavell Nurses’ Trust, said

“The Cavell Nurses’ Trust awards, which are now in their fifth year, celebrate the passion, commitment and impact of nurses, midwives and students throughout the UK. We’re delighted to present this new Special Achievement Award, which is kindly supported by NEXT PLC, to recognise nurses who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the quality of nursing care.”


Cavell Awards 2016

Outstanding nursing and midwife talent was celebrated recently at The Cavell Nurses' Trust Awards evening at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

There were ten awards up for grabs on the evening which recognised outstanding achievement in student and qualified nursing and midwifery, including two Army Reservist nursing awards. 

The awards were hosted by Cavell Nurses’ Trust, a charity that gives money and support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and students experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

The ceremony took place in front of a packed audience of nurses, midwives and healthcare leaders from around the UK. Special guest speaker at the ceremony, Sally Gunnell OBE DL, said,

“It’s a real pleasure to share in the excitement of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust Awards. The world of athletics demands commitment and determination and it’s fantastic to see nurses and midwives are recognised for those values too. I’ve seen such passion tonight.”

Cavell Nurses’ Trust Chairman Simon Knighton said: “The Cavell Nurses’ Trust Awards helps us be here for nurses and midwives, either by supporting them when they face hardship or by celebrating the amazing work that they do every day.

“We’d like to thank the generous organisations that sponsored our awards and lent their time and expertise to ensure the awards are a fitting tribute to the passion and commitment of all our finalists.”

The Cavell Nurses’ Trust awards are made possible by a number of sponsors that give their time and support to the scheme: NEXT PLC, The Belgian Embassy in the UK, Thornbury Nursing Services, NHS Professionals, National Gardens Scheme, RCN Foundation, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corp (QARANC), Public Health England, Curhams Ltd, Mark Allen Group and Capital Healthcare Recruitment.

Meet some of the winners

Jane Carpenter - Outstanding Academic Achievement Award 2016

Jane Carpenter - Outstanding Academic Achievement Award 2016

Cara Sturgess - Outstanding Student Nurse Award 2016

Cara Sturgess - Outstanding Student Nurse Award 2016


Day in The Life of a Nurse - Felicity's story

“I was a Veterinary Nurse prior to this, so I have had a change of species!”

Felicity has been working as a Staff Nurse for two years at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham caring for patients before and after surgery, aiding them in their recovery and working with them towards better mobility and reduced pain after their operations.

She used to be a Veterinary Nurse before her current role.

“I loved my old job but felt that I needed a new challenge in a career that could offer me wider future opportunities. My Auntie worked as a nurse and then as a midwife and she was very keen for me to follow in her footsteps so she encouraged me to enrol at University and go for it”

On a typical nursing day she has a busy shift which includes giving medications, checking clinical observations, reviewing blood results, working with physiotherapists, giving personal care, changing dressings and organising care with her colleagues.

“I love being able to work so closely with people, their families and friends to help them to achieve the best health and quality of life that they can. It’s a huge privilege to care for people and I feel that I make a difference to people’s lives by being the person they can turn to and confide in, the one to hold their hand and help them to feel better.”

Felicity praises her colleagues and feels lucky that she is part of such a great team who are always there for each other and work together to provide the best care.

“I don’t have a particular highlight of my nursing career so far, but I can say I have taken much joy in the small successes I have achieved, like when a patient looks to me for guidance and support and when I can fulfil their needs and make them smile. It makes the hardest day worthwhile.”

Felicity’s advice for anyone thinking of training to be a nurse is try to be prepared for the challenges as well as the opportunities of being a nurse.

“I believe that if you have a good heart and always have your patients’ welfare at the forefront of your concern then you are halfway there! The clinical expertise comes with training and learning.”

When Felicity is not at work she loves exercising, whether it be walking, weight training, or doing a cardio-based workout. For relaxation, it’s meditating, reading and days out with her family.

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Shayley's story

I’ve been a staff nurse at The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham since 2012 and I was inspired to take up a career in nursing after looking after my brothers and sisters when I was younger.

I love meeting patients and their families and getting to know all about them and I feel it is a privilege to be able to care for them when they are at their most vulnerable.

A typical day on the ward involves the medication rounds and meeting patients’ hygiene needs whilst making regular observations. We complete patients’ care plans and then receive patients back from theatre as well as liaising with physiotherapists and doctors to help patients recover quickly and hopefully be discharged home.

I always treat others how I would like to be treated and I help wherever I can. I find that it can be the simple, small things that make the difference to patients’ lives – like stopping for a chat or giving them a smile. I always treat patients with dignity and respect.

The advice I would give to someone thinking about becoming a nurse would be think carefully! You certainly don’t go into nursing for the money but if you are ok with that then it is a hugely rewarding career to take up.

I would sum up nursing in three words.

Challenging - caring for patients with very complex needs can be challenging, as well as dealing with staffing issues.

Exhausting – shifts can be very long and tiring, but you take the rough with the smooth.

Rewarding - to nurse a patient and feel like you have done a good job can be so rewarding and satisfying.

I relax outside work by spending time with my family and walking my dog.

Be #HereForNurses and get your Fundraising Pack

Phil's run for nurses

"I remember on several occasions colleagues experiencing hardship."

Phil says when he was younger he had no burning desire to become a nurse, but after working as a healthcare assistant his eyes were opened wide to the possibilities for a varied and fulfilling career in nursing.

“Growing up, my only real nursing role model was Charlie Fairhead from TV soap ‘Casualty’. That was 18 years ago and after completing my training I haven’t looked back!”

Currently, Phil works in Rapid Access Chest Pain and Coronary Artery Disease clinics as a Cardiac Care Nurse and cares for patients with acute cardiac problems that need expert attention.

So why did he want to raise money to support his fellow nurses?

“In a previous role as a Ward Manager, I remember on several occasions colleagues experiencing hardship and had I known about Cavell Nurses’ Trust then, I would have definitely pointed them towards the charity.”

Cavell Nurses’ Trust supports UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, both working and retired, when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship often due to illness, disability, older age and domestic abuse. With more than 1,900 enquiries for help in 2016, 36% up on the previous year, we need the support of people like Phil.

Phil set himself the challenge of running the Kent Road Runner Marathon at the Cyclopark, hoping to raise £250 for Cavell Nurses' Trust. Here's Phil talking at the time of training last year...

“Training’s going well so far. I’ve had a few niggles in the last few months and have become a bit paranoid about them! I’ve decided to hire a coach for this after picking up an injury after a half marathon last year, but my club - Rebel Runners Medway - have been a great support with plenty of other runners training for spring marathons this year.”

“The Road Runner is a lap Marathon, with 20 to complete, and the hardest part of the race will be keeping count! But the organisers have an ingenious system of bands to help you remember.”

During his challenge, Phil said he thought about those of his colleagues who are suffering hardship and used this to spur him on to the finish.

“I hope my marathon challenge will inspire others to find out more about Cavell Nurses’ Trust and motivate people to raise funds and awareness for the great work this charity does.”

Phil's fundraising efforts brought in an amazing £650! Way over his original target. This money will make such a difference to the life of a nurse struggling to make ends meet.


Day in The Life of a Nurse - Alisha's story

Alisha is a Staff Nurse and has been working for 14 months. Her mother was her inspiration to become a nurse and she loves helping people recover and get back on their feet.

“I love supporting patients and empathising with them as well as advocating for them.”

A typical day as a Staff Nurse for Alisha involves arriving for her shift and receiving patients from the previous shift. After the routine and controlled drugs are administered, Alisha and her team observe their patients and document their progress. Lunchtime is followed by the afternoon drugs round and at this point her team are likely to receive more patients that have come from the operating theatre.

“It’s a very challenging career and you never stop learning. The three years of training at university don’t necessarily prepare you for real life as a nurse but it is a very rewarding job.”

Despite occasional frustrations like trying to decipher doctors’ handwriting, Alisha loves getting feedback from her patients and remembers her first ever letter of appreciation from a patient.

“I felt such a rush of pride and was really touched by the kind words. It’s always a confidence boost when patients say thank you.”

In her spare time Alisha relaxes by listening to music, shopping and spending time with her family.

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Rebecca's story

Rebecca has been working as a nurse for 16 years and as an Out Patient Department Sister for the last seven years. She was inspired to become a nurse after caring for poorly siblings, and later her mother.

“I’ve always been a caring person and the experience of caring for a loved one felt very natural, so I quickly realised that nursing was what I wanted to do.”

And making a difference to people’s lives when they are unwell is the reason Rebecca is still nursing. “It always makes me smile when I know I’ve made a difference. I love what I do and it makes me so proud and happy to be in the caring profession.”

Rebecca can sum up her experience of nursing in three words; Proud, Happy and Loud!

She’s extremely Proud to have a career in nursing and putting her uniform and telling people what she does for a living makes her glow and feel good about herself.

Happy; a smile can make all the difference and knowing when to smile can make all the difference. Rebecca nurses for the patients and this makes her happy and hopes that it shows in her demeanour.

Loud; patient safety is very important to Rebecca and she is the patients’ advocate at all times. “If I feel that something is not right I will always say. If I don’t understand something I shall always say. I am also a Caremaker and the 6c’s (Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage, Commitment) are very important to me.”

A typical nursing day for Rebecca takes in problem solving, counselling, diplomacy, communication, having the courage to say what she believes and of course, smiling!

In her spare time, Rebecca unwinds by playing hockey and cricket and loves the social side of getting stuck into sports.

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Michelle's story

After two ruptured discs in her back left Michelle in a wheelchair at the age of 26, it looked as though this dedicated neonatal nurse’s career was over. However, due to her indomitable enthusiasm, courage and dedication she is now – 6 years on – back at work as a Cardiac Education Nurse supporting newly qualified nurses on the two cardiac wards (neonatal and older children) at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

On a typical day Michelle will get to work at 8.00am and check her emails before starting her teaching session with 6 newly qualified nurses from the cardiac neonatal wards. The sessions are very much an interactive discussion rather than a lecture and they go over the particular defect which the nurses have been given to research in the previous session. The session usually lasts until 12.30pm and covers all aspects of nursing care, giving the new nurses the knowledge to give the best possible treatment and care to their tiny patients.

“Part of becoming a good neonatal nurse is the ability to communicate well with the babies’ parents. Getting across compassionately but effectively what the treatment will entail and the reasons for it are vital skills for these nurses to have. It’s all about building their confidence.”

The rest of Michelle’s day is taken up with visiting the cardiac wards, getting feedback from senior nurses on the progress of the new nurses which helps her plan areas she needs to concentrate on in future sessions. Whilst visiting the wards, Michelle also makes time to talk to parents and offer any support she can. Although she no longer cares directly for patients, Michelle still enjoys being a vital part of the wider nursing team.

“I still desperately miss the “hands on” nursing that I did for so many years but I still get huge satisfaction from supporting and mentoring newly qualified nurses, seeing them blossom into confident and compassionate nurses providing the best care they can.”

Outside of work, Michelle volunteers for Papyrus, a national charity for the prevention of young suicide and she has completed an ASIST training course (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). She is also part of the Unlimited Voices choir and attends weekly practice sessions and takes part in concerts in her area.

Despite facing challenges every day, Michelle is not going to let her spinal cord injury hold her back.

“I do suffer constant pain, which varies in intensity, but I’m determined to remain in nursing for the rest of my career, in whatever form that may take.”

Be #HereForNurses and support Nurses like Michelle

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Joan's story

“I go to work with a smile every morning, which is priceless for me.”

I’ve been a nurse for 20 years working in A&E, Intensive Care and Community Nursing, but it’s my current role as Clinical Lead for a clinical commissioning group that I’m most excited about.

No two days are the same for me when I’m out visting GP surgerys, talking to doctors and nurses about how they can improve their patient-centred care. I introduce them to Florence (FLO), which is the name given to new technology designed to help GPs and nurses to interact with their patients via mobile phone using a texting service to help patients self-manage any conditions or health issues they have.

The benefit is that by managing their condition better these patients don’t need to consult their doctor or nurse so often which saves the NHS time and money and the patient the inconvenience of travelling to their GP surgery.

When I started this role I worried that I would never see another patient again and that I would lose that link you get from nursing but I feel my influence is more global now and I’m able to use my time to help more and more patients.

Recently, I was particularly proud when I heard of a GP surgery in Bolsover that has been using FLO for some time and has seen a significant increase in patients attending appointments, ensuring they are getting regular treatment. I am also proud that the patient feedback has been really positive, with the only downside being that nurses say there is less time for tea and biscuits as more of their patients are turning up for their appointments!

I love that my job is making patients’ lives better and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do – provide the best care possible, the gold standard of care. I spoke to a lady the other day who said that she no longer has to inject herself in the stomach every day with insulin to control her diabetes as her condition has been managed more effectively now using FLO. She was quite emotional and so pleased that her condition was getting better. I felt so privileged that I was able to help her situation improve and change her life.

I go to work with a smile every morning, which is priceless for me.

(For more information about FLO click here)

Be #HereForNurses and support Nurses like Joan

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Julie's story

Julie is a newly qualified nurse, starting her current role as a Staff Nurse in October 2015.

Nursing was something she had always wanted to do but life got in the way and raising her son became a priority.

“At that time it wasn't so easy to train to be a nurse when you were a single parent. But my son grew up and joined the Army and he urged me to go back to college.”

At the same time her youngest sister had just graduated as an Operating Department Practitioner and she also joined in encouraging Julie to start her training. That was in 2011 and now 5 years later she’s working as a qualified nurse.

For Julie, it’s being able to make a difference, however small, to someone’s health and lifestyle that she really loves about being a nurse.

“I am part of their lives for a short time and have the power to affect them in a positive way. I quite often learn from them, whether it’s new treatment they are trying, research they are partaking in or something as simple as how being in hospital has affected them and their families.”

Julie realised from the beginning that nursing is hard work and challenging at times, but also extremely rewarding.

“There is no satisfaction like helping someone at their very lowest, get back on their feet again”.

She would encourage others to take up nursing but they need to realise it’s more than just a job.

“To make a good nurse you have to want to make a difference to someone’s life, even if they won’t contribute and help you make that difference. It’s certainly not all sunshine and roses. Some days you go home and cry because you’ve had such a rough day. But once those tears have dried and you start to look forward to the challenge of the next day, you know you are where you should be.”

Julie’s nursing day starts with the handover so the previous shift can get her team up to speed on what happening with the patients. After the routine drug rounds, a typical day for Julie consists of dressing changes and drain removals with a fair amount of chasing the pharmacy for medication and chasing doctors for any number of issues. Getting discharge paperwork together and patients sent home safely, chasing social services and rehab places are just a few more things that Julie and her team cram into their shifts.

“As well as doing all this, I have to be there for my patients as well. No two days are ever the same and you never know what your day will be like until you are living it.”

Despite only working as a qualified nurse for a short time, Julie understands the importance of spending time with her patients.

“Just listening to patients and actually hearing what they say, not what we think they are saying, makes a huge difference. Elderly patients tend to not want to 'bother' me because I am 'busy' with others, so it’s about watching body language and hearing what they are NOT saying, then acting upon it, that’s what makes a difference to their lives.”

In her spare time, Julie loves reading and has recently taken up a new hobby,

“I’ve started playing the guitar. I'm not very good to be honest and I still have lots to learn, but my guitar helps me to unwind from a hard day at work.”

Be #HereForNurses and get your Fundraising Pack

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Sara's story

“Getting to know the person is a big part of the job and that’s why I want to be a mental health nurse.”

I’m studying to be a Mental Health Nurse and I’m currently in the second year of my course and I get to work on placement on Mental Health wards, gaining valuable experience for when I qualify as a nurse.

I work on a crisis ward which looks after the most vulnerable people, many of whom are regular visitors struggling with ongoing complex mental health problems. My shift starts at 7.00am but I like to get to the ward a few minutes early to prepare myself for the shift. It’s important to feel confident and alert before meeting the patients and crucial that you try to not bring any stress from your personal life to the ward. You have to be 100% focused on the patients and their needs.

Once my team and I have done a handover with the previous shift, learning all about the people who are currently on the ward, we make sure the patients get up and take their medication. Some people are on 30 minute watches which means we have to check on them very regularly and observe any significant behaviour relating to their mental health problems.

There’s always paperwork to do but it’s important for each patient’s history to be tracked and any new developments noted to help with their recovery. We also have to liaise with doctors and organise appointments for them to visit patients who have underlying health problems.

As well as all the admin work, it’s vitally important that as a mental health nurses we spend a significant amount of time getting to know each patient. This is the main reason I chose mental health nursing over adult nursing, which can be very task-focused. Nursing mentally ill patients requires you to spend quality time with them, picking apart their lives and helping them fit it all back together again. Getting to know the person is a big part of the job and that’s why I want to be a mental health nurse.

The crisis ward team are always keen to get patients off the ward and doing activities like cooking classes, creating sociable situations where patients can express themselves and relax. You wouldn’t necessarily think so, but humour is a big part of our day. Having a laugh and a joke with patients is a great way to get them to feel at ease and open up about how they are feeling that day. It’s also a great way for staff to release any tension they are feeling during the shift.

There are things I find difficult about working with people struggling with mental illness. It’s always sad to see people returning to the ward after a relapse and when those who are very much in crisis start hurting themselves it’s upsetting and difficult to deal with. It’s very easy to want to fix people yourself but you have to let them do it for themselves – I do find that frustrating at times as well.

My ambition is to be the best nurse I can be, helping anyone I can. The help that myself and other nurses have given people has definitely changed their lives and I want to continue to do that.

In my spare time I like to unwind by going to the gym, reading, cooking and spending time with my family. It’s important to have these outlets after a busy and demanding shift.

Be #HereForNurses and get your Fundraising Pack

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Annamaria's story

Annamaria qualified as a nurse in 2009 and her first role was hospital-based but she decided early on that she wanted to provide one-to-one care in peoples’ homes.

She’s now a Community Specialist Practitioner and has worked in community nursing for the majority of her career. She is part of a care team that carries out unplanned visits rather than the routine, planned care carried out by many district nurses.

“Every day is different. Some days I may visit ten patients for short appointments and other days one appointment might take all day. But I love the fact that there are no time limits placed on appointments and I can spend as long as I need to with each person.”

Annamaria’s day starts around 8.00am at the nursing base where she does a handover from staff on the previous shift. The Triage Nurse then hands out the calls for that day and Annamaria is off on her rounds. Spending quality time with each patient is crucial as every visit involves an assessment of the patient’s whole situation; their environment, mood, emotional state as well as the clinical assessment.

She ensures that the appropriate care and support is in place for the patient and, particularly with end of life patients, Annamaria will also spend time supporting the family. Liaising with services such as GPs and other carers are also on her checklist, making sure the patient’s care is co-ordinated as much as possible. Patients suffering dementia can be a particular challenge as she has to be aware of the different types of dementia and make sure that any history is corroborated by the carers and family members.

At the end of her day Annamaria tackles the inevitable paperwork, writing up her appointment notes for the next shift.

“I love the variety that my job offers, meeting new people and building relationships with patients that I’ve treated over many years. I work hard to give the best care I possibly can and it’s so rewarding to make a difference and to bring a smile to a patient’s face.”

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Jackie's story

Since qualifying in 1992, Jackie has nursed in many roles and has particularly enjoyed working in palliative care, improving the lives of people suffering from life limiting illnesses. She’s worked at a hospice since 2008 and loves her current role as a Community Hub Manager, managing a staff of 8 nurses plus volunteers that look after services in the Community Hub. She is based in the Wellbeing Centre which offers ongoing support for up to 15 patients a day.

Jackie typically starts her day around 8.40am with a meeting involving hospice staff from the in-patient and community teams. After discussing individual patients and prioritising work, she goes to the Wellbeing Centre to talk to staff and volunteers about patients who are attending that day.

Patients arrive from 10.30am and Jackie tries to see any new referrals. Most are seen in the Wellbeing Centre drop in but Jackie also goes out to see them at home if they have complex needs.

“I try to greet all new patients coming in and have a chat as I think it’s important to make them feel welcome and at ease. We devise a programme of care for each patient to meet their individual needs and this can be a tough time for them, so I’m keen to make this part of their journey as supportive as possible''

In the Wellbeing Centre, all the staff and patients have lunch together which allows the nursing staff to continue their assessment of patients in a relaxed and informal way. Jackie is keen that throughout the day the nursing staff and volunteers are always available to sit and chat to the patients who are encouraged to talk as much or as little as they wish.

“Talking is really important as our nurses can tell so much about how a patient is really feeling and we always try to create a comfortable environment for that to happen. We don’t have set appointments and we don’t clock-watch and patients say they really appreciate the time that they are given by nurses and volunteers.”

After lunch, an artist arrives and works with those patients who want to explore creative activities like drawing, painting and sculpture. This is another chance for staff to learn more about the patients and their needs.

Once the patients have left at 3.30pm, Jackie catches up with nursing staff and they chat through any concerns or issues they have with individual patients and it’s a chance for her to support her team emotionally and practically. Once the inevitable paperwork is done – referrals, telephone calls and letters to GPs and other care providers are completed – Jackie finishes work around 5.00pm.

Jackie describes working at the hospice as a real privilege. She knows that even if someone only has a short time left to live, her and her staff can make a real difference in the way they are supported and cared for.

“Talking about end of life care with people can be really hard and sad, but it can also be incredibly uplifting and rewarding.”

“I love being part of the journey that the patients go on and I value the very honest conversations we have and the incredible level of trust they have for me.”

Be #HereForNurses and get your Fundraising Pack

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Sheila's story

“If I could some up in three words what nursing means to me it would be Caring, Compassion and Commitment.”

Sheila has been working as a nurse for 50 years and her current role is Operating Department Practitioner. Her father passed away when she was seventeen and, along with caring for her grandparents, she was inspired to become a nurse always knowing that she wanted to care for others.

“For me, nursing has been a very rewarding career knowing that I’m always doing the best for my patients, always treating them as if they were my own loved ones.”

Sheila’s day starts at 8.00am when she meets her operating theatre team to discuss the day’s workload and special requirements for each operation. The team carry out four or five hip and knee operations in one day.

It’s the variety of the work that Sheila has found most rewarding about her career so far. After her general training she completed a midwifery course and worked as midwife for a year. She wanted to travel so she completed a course in Orthopaedics, an area she still works in to this day. The course enabled her to travel and work in America and Ireland, before returning to the UK and The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.

“My aim as a nurse has always been to get people mobile and free from pain.”

Click here to contact Cavell Nurses' Trust

Day in The Life of a Nurse - Jasbinder's story

Jasbinder works as a Drug and Alcohol Nurse

08:00 It’s my first day back after annual leave and I’m thinking about what to expect!

09:00 I arrive at work and even before I can open my emails my first patient has arrived for a new assessment. My colleague supports me as she knows the patient well. The assessment is a full Physical Health Assessment and will take at least an hour. This patient requires a Pabrinex injection (given to rapidly correct the severe depletion of vitamins B & C in alcohol patients) and this requires extra administration time.

10:30 I manage to turn on my computer and after I see about 100 emails I start to prioritise my work. As expected, my first job is to make phone calls to health professionals and liaising with team members. I manage to make a cup of tea and drink it whilst typing!

10:45 Must read notes for next 3 patients booked in for today!

11:30 Another new patient to assess and I complete a full Physical Health Check and detox assessment.

12:30 I’m back at the computer to update my records and go back to my to-do-list. Feel up to date now...if there is such thing in this fast moving role!

13:30 Just managed to grab some food and use my 30 minute break for a brisk walk with my colleague to ensure I’m refreshed for the afternoon!

14:00 Checking my calendar to prepare for appointments later this week. I’ve got my Hallam Street Hospital Ward round tomorrow (a local Mental Health Hospital) and an NHS England Liver Health meeting on Wednesday. This means not much time in the office this week so all the more need to update all notes today but thanks to very good admin team here I’ve got some help with admin part of role.

14:30 Letters for both of today’s new assessments completed, checked and my notes up-to-date. Feeling more relaxed now!

15:00 Another new patient to assess. He’s got lots of complex issues to address so requires a lot of patience and understanding. My colleague supports me with information and sits in on the session.

16:00 I managed to update more records, grab another hot drink and some fruit and I’m starting to feel some job satisfaction.

16:30 I’m already thinking about preparation for tomorrow’s workload and nearly the end of first day back from leave. Feels like I was never away!

Be #HereForNurses and get your Fundraising Pack

Sara's skydive for nurses UPDATE

She did it! Student nurse Sara jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet and had the time of her life.

The student nurse studying Mental Health Nursing at University of Worcester set herself the target of raising £400 to support nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who are suffering financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

But by the time the jump was over she had smashed her target and has now raised an amazing £525!

Sara's skydive for nurses

Anyone can do it, so watch Sara's jump for inspiration and sign up for your Cavell Nurses' Trust skydive today.

Click here to get in touch and book your skydive

Sara's skydive for nurses

Sara is studying at the University of Worcester to become a Mental Health Nurse and was inspired to enter the profession by her mother who works as a general nurse.

“My mum has always been proud and excited about what she does and when I was working as a Healthcare Assistant I saw other dedicated nurses giving great care and I thought – I want to do that, that’s going to be me!”

Recently, Sara and her family had cause to rely on nurses when her uncle suffered a heart attack. The nurses and doctors worked so hard to save him and Sara says that if they hadn’t done what they did her uncle might not have been alive today. “I can’t thank them enough for that” she says.

Sara is keen to support nurses who are struggling with hardship and she has set herself the target of raising £400 for Cavell Nurses’ Trust. The charity gives welfare support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and students experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age. Sara feels that this cause is vital,

“Nurses give so much and at some point they’ve got to have someone to look after them as well. It’s important that there is someone there for them, a safety net for when things go wrong. I think it’s really important and I’d like to be a part of that.”

So Sara is doing a skydive on Sunday 10th April in aid of Cavell Nurses’ Trust, throwing herself out of a plane at 14,000 feet strapped to an instructor. She’s feeling a bit nervous about her big day,

“The hardest part will be the build-up on the day and keeping my nerves under control! Once I’m on that plane I’ve got to be level headed and not show people how scared I am. Trying to stay calm will be the biggest challenge for me!”

You can donate to Sara’s skydive by visiting her JustGiving page.

Click here to support Sara's skydive for nurses

Keep on running

Joan's fundraising story.

“I can’t help financially, but I can give my time and raise money through sponsorship.”

Joan became a nurse “by mistake” after originally wanting to be a physiotherapist. Growing up watching his beloved Barcelona football team, he was always interested in the physio that would run onto the pitch and get players back on their feet. He didn’t get the grades needed to study to be a physio but chose nursing instead.

During his twenty year nursing career, Joan (pronounced ‘Joanne’) has moved to the UK and worked in A&E, Intensive Care and Community Nursing and currently works as Clinical Lead for a clinical commissioning group, implementing technology to improve how patients manage their conditions and communicate with their GPs.

He’s always had boundless energy and will be using this to great effect to support his nursing colleagues. On 29th May Joan is running in the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon and raising money for Cavell Nurses’ Trust, suppport nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who are suffering hardship. Joan wants to ensure his fellow nurses are not suffering,

“I want to help frontline staff who are stretched to the limit at the moment. I can’t help financially but I can give my time and raise money through sponsorship. I can also raise awareness.”

He certainly can. Joan uses social media a lot to connect with other healthcare professionals and impressively has over 17,000 followers on Twitter where he’s been busy tweeting and talking about his “Tweetathon” in May.

What’s a “Tweetathon”? Joan is going to tweet at every mile point during the marathon and mention a fact about Edith Cavell, Cavell Nurses’ Trust and nurses. Always a creative thinker, Joan is not only getting regular sponsorship to run the race, he’s also asking companies to “sponsor” each mile he runs.

So why is Joan so committed to help his fellow nurses? A few years ago after his marriage ended Joan was struggling to juggle his finances, having to pay for extra rent on his new accommodation.

“I know how stressful it is to have to choose between paying the electricity bill, or buying food today. Then you get a letter from the landlord to say rent is due, it’s very easy to get into debt problems.”

Despite working overtime to try and cope, Joan’s situation didn’t improve. So he turned to a charitable organisation set up to help nurses, like Cavell Nurses’ Trust, called the RCN Foundation. They helped pay his rent arrears and got him back on his feet and he was so grateful.

“I said one day that I would give back to a charity that helped nurses, so I have chosen Cavell Nurses’ Trust.”

So how is the marathon training going?

“Training is going ok, I try and run 10Km 3 times a week and play basketball. I had aches and pains when I first started but now my body is getting used to it. Though sometimes it’s difficult when the alarm goes off in morning and I have to drag myself out of bed to the gym. But it’s good to give myself a goal and people are expecting me to run the marathon so I have to be there!”

Here are ways you can sponsor Joan on his “Tweetathon”...

Join in today!

A nursing family to be proud of

Why Dan is fundraising for nurses.

Nursing runs deep in Dan’s family. His sister is a student nurse, his aunty and two of his grandparents were nurses, his great-grandfather was a WW1 Royal Army Medical Corps nurse and his great-grandmother was a WW2 Red Cross nurse.

With such a nursing pedigree in his family, it’s not surprising that Dan has chosen Cavell Nurses’ Trust as his preferred charity to support. Cavell Nurses’ Trust gives support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

Dan’s nursing grandparents, Stuart (also known as William) and Ann Morris, both now rest in their home church in Dalton, Dumfriesshire, where they were married and had their children christened. In honour of Stuart and Ann, Dan’s fundraising challenge was to walk 35 miles along the Annandale Way in Scotland in April, near to where his grandparents lived, and he hoped to raise £1000 to support nurses facing hardship. Dan has fond memories of the couple,

“They were truly amazing people both in their working lives and as husband and wife. They devoted their lives to helping others when ultimately they never had a lot themselves and struggled untold amounts.”

When choosing to support Cavell Nurses’ Trust, Dan had no idea that in 2008 his grandparents had asked the charity for help. The Trust was able to contribute £300 towards securing a mobility scooter for Stuart as his movement had become restricted following an accident. Dan was amazed when he found out.

“I can't believe it! In all honesty I picked Cavell Nurses’ Trust to walk for simply because my grandparents were both nurses. I never had any idea that they’d actually received help from the charity. That made the walk even more special.”

After Stuart received his mobility scooter he was never off it. On one occasion Dan remembers him riding it all the way from Lockerbie to the Devil’s Beef Tub (a deep, dramatic hollow in the hills north of the Scottish town of Moffat) a distance of 22 miles, raising about £4000 for the Scottish Air Ambulance. Dan continues,

“Oh the scooter - he wouldn't have been without it! Even on his funeral service booklet there was a picture of him sat in his scooter, waving. That was my Papa – a beard, a pipe and his scooter.”

Dan completed the charity walk along with his cousin, 56 year old retired Fire Brigade Officer Andrew Shuttleworth and the pair braved the Scottish weather along the way. Dan remembers “It was hard going at times with wind, rain and snow but Andrew and I kept plodding on and we got a great sense of achievement when we completed the 35 miles.”

So far Dan has raised £755 and you can still donate to Dan's fundraising walk on his JustGiving page here

Wolf Brewery donation

Glasses raised raise thousands for nurses

Cavell Nurses’ Trust has received more than £2,000 from the sale of over 45,000 pints of Edith Cavell Ale. The ale is produced by the Wolf Brewery based in Norfolk where the heroic WW1 nurse grew up.

Edith Cavell worked as a British nurse during the First World War and she saved the lives of over 200 Allied soldiers by helping them escape from German-occupied Belgium. For this act she was executed by a firing squad in 1915 and a Fund for Nurses was set up in her honour.

Cavell Nurses’ Trust, as it’s now called, gives welfare support to nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

With 5p from the sale of each of the 45,000 pints and bottles of Edith Cavell Ale sold during 2015, the Trust has received a total of £2,267 to help support nurses who are in crisis.

On accepting the donation from the Wolf Brewery, Steve Moralee, Head of Trusts and Major Gifts at Cavell Nurses’ Trust commented “We are extremely grateful to the Wolf Brewery for their donation and continuing support. Raising a glass of Edith Cavell Ale is a fantastic way to celebrate the life of this heroic nurse and support nurses who are facing hardship today.”

Anyone interested in purchasing Edith Cavell Ale can contact the Wolf Brewery

Cavell Nurses' Trust is proud to have such great support from Wolf Brewery and they are certainly #HereForNurses!

You can also be #HereForNurses. Click here to find out how...

Ken's sleep out

"Cavell Nurses’ Trust was a great help to my late wife.” Ken Lynch.  

Some local hardy souls emerged from their sleeping bags after a night sleeping rough raising money for UK nurses.

The intrepid sleepers camped out recently in Sandy, Bedfordshire and are raising money to benefit four charities, one of which being Cavell Nurses’ Trust, helping us to give welfare support to UK nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and students experiencing financial or personal hardship, often because of illness, domestic abuse, disability, working poverty and older age.

Local man and sleep out co-ordinator Ken Lynch spoke about the experience “We were pleased it wasn’t too cold and the money raised will help all the charities, especially supporting nurses facing hardship as Cavell Nurses’ Trust was a great help to my late wife.”

Ken’s wife Audrey was a nurse for 44 years and the charity was able to support her at the end of her life. He is keen to continue fundraising for Cavell Nurses’ Trust and in 2015 he threw himself out of a plane and completed a skydive in aid of the charity at the sprightly age of 77.

Ken and his friend Alban raised a £245 for Cavell Nurses' Trust from their Sleep Out and are encouraging others to give it a try. 

Ken continued “The fundraising doesn’t stop here, I’ve got lots of ideas for other events later this year in the local area.”

You too can get involved and support UK nurses facing hardship. Watch Ken's sky dive to get some inspiration!