This week we shall be celebrating all of our wonderful EMAS nurses as part of Year of the Nurse.
Rita Varnam, a Clinical Education Development Specialist based at Clifton Education Centre, joined EMAS in June 2007 after starting service with the NHS in September 1984.
From a young age Rita knew she wanted to be a nurse, with many of her dolls having cuts and stitches drawn on them and her dog being the recipient of much of her bandaging.
Having her sights set on nursing and with helpful careers advice at school, Rita went off to follow her dream completing her Registered General Nurse (RGN) training. Qualifying as an RGN in December 1987, Rita then went on to qualify as Registered Sick Children's Nurse (RSCN) in April 1989.
Reflecting on her career, Rita said:
“If there was any advice I would have wanted at the start of my career is that the learning will never stop. You just have to get used to it and embrace it.”
Being in the NHS for a number of years, Rita has seen many changes take place which she says has made a difference to how nurses work.
“Since joining the NHS, the biggest change I have seen is nurse autonomy and the rise in professionalism.
“As a student nurse I spoke to the staff nurse, who spoke to the Ward Sister who spoke to the Doctor.
“During that time, nurses didn’t go to university, they were educated locally and that was where they stayed. The boundaries are much more blurred now between the professions with respect between all healthcare professions massively increased.”
Throughout her career, Rita has faced a number of challenges but also many highlights, she said:
“Gaining my MSc in Advancing Professional Practice has been one of my greatest achievements. I self-funded a Dip HE and BSc with EMAS supporting me through my MSc.
“Nursing is an amazing profession for meeting people and I have met many lifelong friends throughout my career who I still keep in touch with many of them although they are to be found all over the world.”