International Nurses Day 2021 - Michelle Salisbury, Deputy Manager and Nurse at Archers Court care home

12 May 2021 News

For International Nurses Day 2021, we spoke to Michelle Salisbury, Deputy Manager and Nurse at Archers Court care home in Sunderland

Before joining Orchard in April 2021, Michelle spent 26 years working in an NHS setting, predominately in the emergency department field speciality as an adult nurse. She was registered as an adult nurse and also worked in paediatrics, as well as some extra training in immediate life support and clinical skills alongside working in the urgent care centre.

What made you want to become a nurse?

When I initially left school, I trained as a hairdresser but that never felt right for me. I took a job as a care assistant at 18 and I absolutely loved it. I progressed to senior carer and also began volunteering at the local hospital where I would serve refreshments to patients and offer support to them and their loved ones. Following this I got offered the role of an auxiliary nurse where I was offering patient focused care, once I began this role, I felt like this is exactly what I was meant to do.

What year did you qualify as a nurse?

I qualified in 2006 after working as a health care assistant for numerous years. Prior to doing my nurse training I was training new registered nurses and I felt that I could also be doing this. I was an advanced health care assistant and I was encouraged and supported by the trust to progress my career.

Why make the transition from the NHS to social care nursing homes?

Nursing as a whole is ever evolving; nothing ever stays the same, there are always new policies and guidelines. You can never come into nursing and think “that’s it I have done my training”. That is what I love about nursing, there is always something new to learn.

What do you love about nursing?

Everything! I whole heartedly love my job, my job is my passion, it is the biggest part of my life. I feel a satisfaction of being able to send loved ones back home and keeping families together. Being there and being able to go the extra mile on a daily basis and see a smiling face or holding someone’s hand and giving them that reassurance are the core values of being a nurse for me.

If you were to give any tips to someone wanting to become a nurse, what would you say makes a good nurse?

Communication, on every level. Whether it is with a child, an adult or someone with dementia, you have to be able to communicate. You have to have passion, drive, compassion and empathy. It is everything you would want for yourself. I base my nursing care on how I would like to be looked after and how I would like my loved ones to be looked after and that’s what I would advocate to anyone wanting to go into nursing.

What is your greatest skill as a nurse?

I think it is my listening skills. You have to let that person be able to talk to you and then reassure any elevating fears and anxieties. Unfortunatley we don’t always have the answers and can’t fix every problem, which is the sad part of the job, but just being there so the person has someone they can confide in.

What is the one thing that stands out for you that your job has taught you over the years?

The one thing my job has taught me is that everyone is different, every person has their own thoughts, feelings, anxieties and you have to be able to address that regardless of circumstances, age etc. You have to be inclusive towards everybody and encompass treating not only them but also their family members.

How do you and the team support each other with your health and wellbeing?

My role as Deputy Manager means I am in charge of the nursing team and the senior care and care assistants. I operate an open door policy, so if anyone has any worries or anxieties they can always come and talk to me. If I feel they need more support I would contact the HR team and look into offering them further support and try and help with as much as we can with changing shift patterns and reducing hours etc. When we have happy staff we have happy residents, so we are constantly working on boosting staff morale and being there for one another.

How have you found nursing in the midst of Covid and the ever-changing developments?

I was working within the emergency department throughout the first outbreak of Covid which was very challenging, we had to adapt to many changes very quickly. We were seeing many sick people coming through the doors and weren’t able to have anyone with them so as nurses we were not only caring for very sick patients but we were also the only people there for them. We had to adapt to wearing full PPE which was very overwhelming for both us and the patients as it made it difficult to communicate things to them. It mentally and physically took a lot out of the staff. We would often have to take time out and have a little cry and as this was all very new to us and we were having to see many of our colleagues get sick. It has been a very difficult time for all nurses, in the NHS setting and in the care home setting, but we all need to continue to be there for each other and talk to one another.

What are the highlights of your nursing career at Orchard so far?

I think my highlight has been getting to know the residents. I have loved getting stuck into the role and I have received so much support from Sharon, the Home Manager. The induction process when joining Orchard has been amazing and helped me endlessly. We have 3 new nurses joining so I am enjoying getting our nursing team up and running and letting the community know that we are here and always happy to help.

Why do you think International Nurses Day is important?

We have always been told to remember Florence Nightingale as International Nurses Day falls on her birthday, so it is very fitting tribute to the work that she did. The day also reminds us why we are here as nurses and what we want to achieve. It gives up that recognition, we are often called the unsung heroes and it is lovely to have that recognition. International Nurses Day puts us at the forefront and shows people what we do and how hard we work to deliver the best quality care. There is no better feeling in this world than making a difference to someone’s life and that is what we are here to do.

What would you like to say to your fellow nurses this International Nurses Day?

To all of my fellow nurses, we proud of who you are, always keep at the forefront of your mind what we are here to do. Keep up the good work, you are doing an absolutely amazing job, we are all in this together. Hopefully Covid will be a thing of the past so keep doing what you are doing. We are here, we are nurses, be proud of what you do and hold your head up high when you say that you are nurse.

Watch the full interview with Michelle below: