International Nurses Day: An interview with Emily Lam

Emily Lam - our public and patient involvement member

For International Nurses Day, we spoke with Emily Lam, who is a Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) member for the King's Clinical Research Facility (CRF).

"My name is Emily Lam. I was born in Hong Kong and came to train as a Registered Nurse in Somerset, England, in 1967, promising my father that I would return home after three years. However, I didn't live up to that promise, as I stayed and went on to train as a midwife, health visitor and fieldwork teacher.

"I moved on, completed an Open University degree while working full-time and finally finished my career as Nursing Officer for Quality in the Department of Health in 1994. It was a fantastic journey, with some unforgettable memories over the years. For instance, my daily chores in the first two years of nursing training included: daily high dusting of the ward's ceilings, collecting sputum mugs, running endless rounds of urinals and bedpans, then scrubbing them and placing them in sterilisers, all done without gloves. Then suddenly, in my third year, I was in charge of a ward!

"There was one thing I valued greatly: bedside nursing and the close relationship I could develop with many patients. When nursing became professionalised, I rejoiced and believed it was well overdue. Still, I was concerned when there were disproportionate demands on time for completing pages of notes and form-filling. I am concerned that nursing is not as valued as it should be, and morale has been allowed to drop to a very low level. As a patient living with several health conditions, I greatly appreciate nurses. They are often much more accessible, understanding and responsive to my needs than busy doctors. 

"In the current 'Our Nurses Our Future campaign, as a patient, I want to show my strong support for nurses as they are indispensable in our NHS. It will be to the detriment of our healthcare system and the country's health if we don't treat them fairly, and patients will suffer. We cannot afford to drive more nurses to burn out that will make them drop out of the NHS or emigrate elsewhere. 

"While those considering nursing careers may not always earn a lot of money, there is potential for huge job satisfaction. There is always a great range of career pathways to satisfy different interests and ambitions. Most of all, your patients will love and remember you."

Tags: NIHR Wellcome King's Clinical Research Facility -

By NIHR Wellcome King's Clinical Research Facility at 3 May 2023, 16:42 PM

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