For me, there is no such thing as an average day at Rainbows. No two days are ever the same.

That’s what I love about working here.

Today for example I have been to the crematorium to represent Rainbows and pay my respects to a young boy who I had looked after since he was a baby in hospital. I had actually referred him to Rainbows before I started here six years ago. I got to see him here in a different environment and watch him grow. It was such a privilege to have shared some of the family’s journey with them from the beginning, middle and sadly through to the end.

Being there supporting the family at such a difficult time, made me feel so proud to work at Rainbows. It was clear that Mum really appreciated myself and family support worker Karen, being there. Today really summed up for me what it means to be a Rainbows nurse. The support from colleagues is invaluable at times like these. Its so helpful to be able to share our feelings with others who will understand. No-one can teach you how to act or what to say, but working at Rainbows gives you an invisible connection with the families, who are eternally grateful for our service, a service like no other.

Tomorrow, and the day after, for my respiratory nurse role, I will be attending a virtual conference run by Great Ormond Street Respiratory Team. I have attended in person in the past, so this will be a different experience, one that we have all had to get used to doing this year. I must admit it does have its advantages when you don’t have to worry what to wear or whether you will catch the train in time! It’s such an interesting couple of days listening to the experts in their field talking about up to date developments, and we get to ask questions and share experiences from all across the country.

Next week I will be supporting one of our band 5 nurses while they spend a fortnight on a respiratory ward to learn more about mechanical ventilation and how these children and young people get ready for home. It is also essential we keep up to date with local and national guidelines  so we ensure we can deliver the best and most relevant care. It is great that we can have this relationship with the hospitals. It really helps to bridge the gap, and gain mutual trust.

The last year has been a challenge to us all. But I felt really privileged to have been part of the vaccination team, loaned to the ‘Leicestershire partnership Trust’, and help administer the vaccine. When I go to the vaccination centres wearing my Rainbows top and ID badge, people would always ask about where I worked. I found out this week that volunteers can now choose a charity to donate to instead of receiving payment, and they have recommended Rainbows.

If I was to give any advice to anyone considering a career in nursing, I would say it is a vocation rather than a job. If you thrive on helping others and are passionate about making a difference then this is the career for you. There are so many opportunities for whatever speciality you decide to follow, there will never be a dull moment. Tiring, exhausting and sometimes emotionally draining , but that is balanced by the overwhelming sense of pride , accomplishment and job satisfaction you will get from it. The gratitude of people from every walk of life , no matter if they are rich and famous , or poor and deprived, will make it all worthwhile. You also have to be quite nosey to be a nurse.

I always thought I became a nurse because my Mum and older sister were both nurses , but I realise you have to be inquisitive and interested in other people, and have a desire to heal, and make better. Even if the worst thing imaginable happens, like a child loosing their life, a Rainbows nurse will go above and beyond to make the situation the best it can be. That is an amazing thing to do. That is why I love working at Rainbows.

Steph Watson
Respiratory Specialist Nurse.