By Jenness Mitchell & Louise Scott
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has welcomed more than 650 newly qualified nurses and midwives to its ranks as part of this year’s intake.
The nurses will be working across all of the health board’s hospitals, as well as in communities in all six health and social care partnership areas.
Dr Margaret McGuire, director of nursing at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), said: “Given the extra demands of this year, many of our newly qualified nurses have already been working with us as healthcare assistants and I would like to thank them for that.
“This new cohort of nurses and midwives marks a significant and unique recruitment of graduates, and just like last year, reflects one of the most important periods in our history.
“They bring a wealth of additional experience gained during a very testing time in the NHS.
“Their skills and experience will be invaluable in supporting us in our response to Covid-19 as we move into a second winter.
“They have joined us at a time like no other and their experience will stand them in great stead in their careers as they move into their chosen specialisms within healthcare.”
The vast majority of the new workers have come from universities across the west of Scotland and have studied adult nursing, children’s nursing, as well as mental health and learning disability nursing.
Smaller numbers have come from further afield in Scotland and from England.
The newly qualified graduates will strengthen the existing 13,082 nurses and midwives to deliver high quality person-centred care to more than one million people across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
Dr Margaret McGuire added: “I want to thank all our nurses and midwives for their professionalism, dedication and kindness to the people they care for and would remind them to look after themselves and their colleagues as well.”
‘It’s definitely the job for me’
Manpreet Kaur Singh is one of the new cohorts at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. This is her second venture into nursing.
The Glasgow Caledonian University grad, from Cumbernauld in North Lanarkshire, said: “I left school at 16 and had always wanted to be a nurse, but probably lacked the confidence at that time.
“After doing a computer course I did start nursing training for a while, but dropped out after a negative experience.
“But the urge to be a nurse never left me and for years my family and friends were on at me to go back to it. I did an entry course then studied at Caledonian and never looked back.
“My first day in the ‘blue uniform’ was a bit daunting. I realised then I was no longer a student but a fully qualified nurse.”
The 32-year-old has since settled into her new role and is enjoying her time on ward 65, a surgical ward.
She added: “It’s an amazing team. I spent my second last placement there and was so happy when I found out that’s where I will be based.
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question and everyone is so supportive. The Royal is such a great hospital; our patients get great care.”
‘I am looking forward to seeing how I grow as a nurse.’Manpreet Kaur Singh
One part of the job Ms Singh knows she will find tough is when her patient doesn’t make it.
Ms Singh added: “As a student you get more time to spend with patients and get to know them well.
“The most important thing is to be supportive for the family and remain professional, but I know it’s okay to go and have a wee cry in a cupboard too. We are only human after all.
“I am so excited about being a nurse and seeing what my career holds.
“It’s definitely the job for me and I can’t be prouder. I can’t believe I am actually here; it’s so exciting. I am looking forward to seeing how I grow as a nurse.”
‘Expect the unexpected’
Ricky Dunn, now a staff nurse at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, told STV News that his university classes switched to online as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
During his practical placements, he said it felt like “everyone was there together” as medics across the country battled the deadly virus.
Mr Dunn said: “You’re in the same boat as everyone. You know, it’s a completely massive change in the middle of a pandemic.
“Everyone’s got different ways of working, so you’re having to do that and on top of trying to learn how to be a nurse.
“And every time you went in, you know, you felt like yes you were learning new skills but it was kind of spurring you on because it was such a different time that no one had experienced before, so you feel like everyone was there together, so that kind of helped me along the way.”
Mr Dunn said the pandemic has taught him to “expect the unexpected”.
He added: “I think that’s nursing anyway, not every day’s the same, but definitely it’s a massive thing.
“And I think that it’ll go down in history – a lot of lessons learned. But yeah, I think it’s really shaped me the way I am and I’ve definitely took a lot away from it.”