Sunday, 12th May, is International Nurses Day – a day dedicated to celebrating the fantastic work of nursing staff across the UK. Nurses keep our communities safe, healthy and thriving and today, we want to say a huge thank you for everything nurses do. 

In honour of #NursesDay, we sat down with Vitor Gomes, our Director of Nursing here at The Medical and Diagnostic Care Group, to learn a bit more about his career in nursing and share his advice to people considering a career in the industry.  

1) Can you please give a short overview of your career in nursing so far?

My nursing journey began in Portugal, where I started as a bedside nurse, providing direct patient care, passing through Medical/Surgical Wards, ITU, A&E and Endoscopy and Surgical Outpatients Unit. Upon moving to England, I embarked on a similar path, starting again as a bedside nurse in outpatients and  ITU/Theatre. Eventually, I progressed into management roles, culminating in my current position as the Director of Nursing for an Insource company. In this role, I oversee nursing operations, ensure quality care delivery, and provide support and leadership to our nursing team.

2) What initially led you to pursue a career in nursing?

My initial attraction to nursing stemmed from my deep-seated desire to assist others and contribute positively to their lives during moments of vulnerability. This inclination was further influenced by the nurturing role my grandmother, who acted as a caregiver in her own right despite lacking formal qualifications, and my mother, who worked as a midwife, played in my upbringing.

3) What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

The aspect of nursing that brings me the greatest fulfilment is observing the progress and recuperation of patients under my supervision and realizing that I contributed to their path to health and well-being. Additionally, as a manager, it’s immensely gratifying to witness the professional growth and flourishing of my staff, observing them as they advance in their careers.

4) What advice would you give to someone who’s studying to become a nurse or considering it?

For anyone pondering a career in nursing or currently studying to become a nurse, my advice would be to maintain a spirit of curiosity, compassion, and adaptability. Nursing is an ever-evolving field that demands ongoing learning and a deep sense of empathy. Embrace new technologies, including advancements in AI, to enhance patient care and streamline processes, but never forget the irreplaceable value of human connection and touch in providing holistic care.

5)  Can you share a memorable patient interaction or story that left a lasting impact on you?

One of the pivotal moments in my career occurred while caring for an elderly patient alongside her devoted husband, who deeply appreciated the care and compassion I provided during their final moments. This experience underscored the importance of fostering human connection and upholding dignity in nursing practice, especially as I tended to Mrs. Johns, the patient’s wife. John’s sincere gratitude as I supported his wife in her last moments profoundly affected me.

Additionally, as a manager, witnessing the transformation of a nurse who was discontented working on the unit and considering a move to another area of nursing care was equally impactful. Through one-on-one discussions, implementing a personalised training plan, and offering continuous support, she flourished and eventually excelled as a Band 7 nurse in Critical Care.

6) Finally, what message would you like to share with other nurses this International Nurses Day?

On this International Nurses Day, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all nurses for their tireless dedication, resilience, and unwavering compassion, particularly in the face of adversity. Your relentless pursuit of excellence in patient care serves as a beacon of inspiration for us all.

As we celebrate advancements in technology and the integration of AI in healthcare, let us not lose sight of the invaluable human touch. While embracing innovation, let’s ensure that we preserve the essence of compassionate care that defines nursing. Remember, teamwork is essential for success. Collaborating effectively with every member of the multidisciplinary team ensures the best outcomes for our patients. Together, we make dreams a reality.