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Closer Look: Acting Surgical Matron for Surgery

13 September 2018

Each month we interview a different member of staff or volunteer at Southend University Hospital and gain a closer look at how they help deliver patient care at the Trust. This month we meet Helen Holder, Acting Surgical Matron for Surgery.

Tell us about yourself?

I've been a nurse for more years than I care to remember! I've worked at Southend Hospital, on and off, for at least 20 years in nursing. Early in my career I worked in Saudi Arabia but being very new to nursing, I only managed six months because they put me in an area near intensive care which I wasn't skilled for in any shape or form.

Away from work I like scuba diving and I've been to the Great Barrier Reef, the Red Sea and, most recently, I dived in Cuba. I find that really fascinating as it's like another world.


What does your job involve?

My current seconded role is being a nursing leader and role model for the staff that I am representing, making sure that quality and safety standards of our patients are adhered to.

It also includes problem solving with regards to any issues patients or staff may have and just making sure they are happy and we are maintaining good quality care in a safe environment. My role covers Elective Admissions Lounge, Stambridge and Southbourne Ward and Day Surgery Unit.


What are the best bits of your job?

As a nurse the best bits are that you are coming to work every day and you feel that you have made a difference to someone's life whether that be a patient, a relative or a member of staff.

The good thing about working at Southend Hospital is you can walk down the corridor and people say 'hello' and engage with you. It's very friendly here and people do go the extra mile.


What work achievements are you most proud of?

I'm really proud that I've led some really good teams as a ward manager, in particular, I worked on AMU2 and the team there were fantastic at making sure the patient flow continued and worked under some extreme pressures. But we all pulled together and made things work.

More recently in day surgery, they have helped increase the number of patients flowing through the unit and getting as many people home the same day after surgery to sleep in their own beds. I'm also proud to be a working mum of two boys and, like many working mums, I have to balance my work life with my home life. I think it's great for children to see their parents working hard, being role models and achieving.

NR 62 (2018)