From running a pony club in Menorca to working for a large telecommunications company, Kate’s career had been a varied one. But in 2004 something happened that would see Kate change her career path for good and follow her vocation, her father passed away suddenly after suffering a heart attack.
“It was devastating,” remembers Kate “It was a very hard time for my mum, bothers and me.”
Kate’s world stopped and she started to think about how she would carry on. She was incredibly impressed by the care that she witnessed previously before her father died and it made her think about her own career.
“I decided to take the plunge and three months later I was studying on an access to nursing course. It was a tough year but I managed to pass that with a distinction to my amazement!”
Kate went on to university and completed her nursing degree, qualifying in 2009. Her first nursing role was working in Infection Prevention and Control at Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust.
“Nursing is all about the patient. It’s a career that can make a huge difference to someone. It can bring comfort and happiness to those in need,” says Kate “Nursing can be very challenging but hugely satisfying”.
“Having empathy and improving patients’ lives should be a part of a nurses DNA.” Kate continues, “Every day is different and every day you aim to leave a positive mark on someone’s life”.
Kate has had experience in A&E, community nursing and as a specialist home parenteral nutrition nurse, looking after people with gastrointestinal problems who require feeding intravenously. Most recently, Kate has been working as an intensive care at home agency nurse.
But in May 2019, Kate’s world was to change again. On her way upstairs to bed one evening, she slipped and fell down the stairs, severely breaking her leg.
“I remember the immense pain and my neighbour coming after hearing my screams. But that’s about all. The next thing I knew, I was in resus.”
Whilst in resus, manipulation of her leg was attempted but this had disastrous results. Bone marrow entered her blood stream causing respiratory failure. Kate was placed in an induced coma for three weeks to allow the infection to be treated.
“Unfortunately when I came out of the coma,” recalls Kate “I contracted double pneumonia which had to be treated so that knocked back my recovery. In all, I was in hospital for about 12 weeks.”
Once well enough to leave hospital, Kate recovered at her mum’s home but all the while she wasn’t working, mortgage repayments and other bills were mounting up.
“I was working as an agency nurse and was pretty much self-employed, so not entitled to occupational sick pay, but I still had loads of bills to pay. I was getting into debt which became very stressful. I dreaded hearing the postman each morning”.
Kate desperately sort financial help and she discovered Cavell Nurses’ Trust.
“I felt scared and embarrassed to ask for help. But the team at Cavell Nurses’ Trust were so kind and understanding. When I got the news that they were going to award me a grant, I was overjoyed. The money meant I could pay my mortgage and other bills and this alleviated some stress whilst I was concentrating on getting better”.
“It’s scary, when you’re so broke and you don’t know where the next penny is coming from. I had no plan B. So it was amazing, I couldn’t believe people could be so kind!
“To be honest, if it wasn’t for my mum and Cavell Nurses’ Trust, I don’t know where I’d be right now. They’ve been absolute lifesavers!
“I’d say to anyone thinking of getting in touch to ask for help, please do it and reach out, don’t feel ashamed or uncomfortable. The team at Cavell Nurses’ Trust supported me throughout, and were totally non-judgemental. It felt like a huge weight was lifted.”
Five months later and Kate’s leg is still mending and her mobility is still severely restricted. She knows that she’s not going to be able to run around on the wards anymore or go back to district nursing so next year she’s hoping find sponsorship to do a postgraduate course to enhance her nursing degree and is aiming to work as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.
Giving something back
Kate is determined to keep fit to help her physical and mental recovery from her ordeal this year so she has been a daily regular at her local gym.
Cavell Nurses’ Trust’s #10kForNurses fundraising campaign runs throughout October and encourages people to do 10,000 of something to raise money for nursing professionals facing a crisis. Kate has spotted another piece of gym equipment and has set herself a 10k challenge.
“I’ve been using the assault exercise bike and pedalling with one leg!” she says “And I’ve managed to raise some money for charities so I wanted to give something back to Cavell Nurses’ Trust.”
“Well, it’s actually 100k,” says Kate “I’m going to row 10 x 10k’s on the rowing machine in October for Cavell Nurses’ Trust. I’d love to raise at least £300 but hopefully more.”
Kate has a message for anyone thinking of doing 10k their way in October.
“Please support this amazing charity and do 10k your way! Think of something fun. There’s so much that people can do in October; swimming, cycling, walking, running and even skydiving!
“I really want to do something to show how grateful I am for all the help I’ve received and spread the word and the work of the fantastic Cavell Nurses’ Trust!”
Kate’s challenge update
Kate has completed her 100km rowing machine challenge, 8 days ahead of time! She reacted to finishing,
“The hardest part was making myself go to the gym every day, as well as the first 10 minutes of each session! But once I got into a rhythm and my technique improved, it became easier.
“Now that the challenge is over, I’m going to miss the rowing machine in a weird way but I’m going to continue with my gym sessions as it’s helped me physically and mentally with my recovery.
Kate has another fundraising event in November, her Pasty and Raffle Night. She’s secured £700 worth of prizes from local companies and hopes the night will be a big success.
“I’ve really enjoyed fundraising for Cavell Nurses’ Trust and I intend to continue to do so for a long time! I want to help spread the awesome work Cavell Nurses’ Trust does supporting nursing colleagues facing a crisis, it’s the least I can do.”