Our Nurses leading the way

On 12th May, International Nurses Day marks the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Known as the ‘Lady with the Lamp,’ she is considered to be the founder of modern nursing and still stands as an example of the importance of the profession today.

This year’s theme is Nurses: A voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare.  Today, around the globe, we are joining men and women in celebrating those who have chosen to be part of the nursing profession.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown more than ever the brilliance of our nursing family. Our Nurses have shown leadership at all levels to meet the extraordinary demands of the pandemic. The virus has brought new and unforeseen challenges to social care and our nurses are rising to those challenges magnificently on a daily basis.

As well as marking this important day in our care homes with celebrations and acts of appreciation for our nurses, we have spoken to a few of the amazing nurses that work for us to share their stories.

We caught up with our nurses to find out more about them and why they joined the Nursing profession!

Star Nurse profile: Abi Smith – Head of Nursing and Residential Care 

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I have been a qualified Nurse for 36 years, yes a lifetime! I wouldn’t change a thing – I have had the privilege of caring for so many wonderful people.

What is your role and what does it entail?

I am currently Head of Nursing and Residential Care at Beechwood Grove Care Home in Eastbourne.  I joined Beechwood as a Registered General Nurse on the nursing unit in 2018.

What does Nursing mean to you? 

Nursing is a continuous learning experience. For me personally, nursing has given me the ability to enhance an individual’s quality of life or even death.

What were the highs and lows of Nursing during the Pandemic?

In March 2020 Covid-19 became prevalent, it seemed like a dream in an unreal world. I, like many, initially wanted to hide, lock myself away with my family to try and keep us safe throughout the pandemic. But as a dedicated Nurse, I knew that was not where I needed to be.  I needed to be at work caring for our residents during the pandemic and working alongside our other fantastic team members at Beechwood Grove. We all knuckled down and fulfilled our different roles at a very challenging time.

It was a difficult time for us at Beechwood Grove, we really saw the impact this had on residents, who had become our family.   Due to the government guidelines, we had to inform loved ones “sorry no you can’t visit your Mum or Dad”.  I know from personal experience how devastating it is to be told you can’t be with your loved one to hold their hand, especially throughout the pandemic. It was paramount to support grieving relatives, which had an impact on everyone’s emotions.

Gradually we began to see light at the end of tunnel and some normality began to return!  It was absolutely wonderful having loved ones visiting again, their smiles, happy tears and laughter returned to our Home – it was like medicine in itself!

What support have you received during this time?

Throughout this experience we have coped with very difficult times and despite all unforeseen difficulties and heart-breaking moments, we have been supported with words of encouragement and praise by our Senior Leadership team, albeit at times from afar.

I would like to personally thank Caroline Braime, our Home Manager at Beechwood Grove for all her support. She donned her scrubs alongside me and we worked on the floors together making challenging decisions, giving hands on care, and at times cried together. The team at Beechwood Grove are amazing – they have all shown dedication and commitment to each other, and to the residents and families!

Caroline Braime – Beechwood Grove Home Care Manager, shared her thoughts on the impact on nursing during the pandemic:

“Throughout the pandemic Abi has demonstrated clinical excellence and purpose far beyond expectation.  Abi has supported the team through the uncertainty and constant change that has impacted all of our lives in so many different ways. On occasion the team have needed encouragement to ‘keep looking forward’ and she has been the driving force behind this.

The team have been able to adapt to many new ways of working and react to situations with professionalism and expertise. Many of these decisions required immediate attention, reactivity of each and every team member was essential. The Nursing team were responsible for the many ethical discussions and considerations that took place, and they fulfilled this whilst ensuring delivery of holistic care for our residents.

The pandemic has allowed us to realise our own potential for resilience, with consideration for realism and flexibility. We will all remember our experience of this time in a very unique way, and I would like to thank the whole team for their individual contribution”.


Find out more about Beechwood Grove Care Home