Annette’s story: A comfy bed can make all the difference to the child
With all her years of nursing experience behind her, Interim Ward Manager Annette Owens remains patient focused.
“I’ve seen many great students coming to Alder Hey, learning skills and gaining experience with the new technologies but I always remind them that basic patient care must always be their priority,” explains Annette. “A friendly environment and a comfy bed can make the difference for the child – don’t forget the basics!”
Qualifying as a nurse has always been Annette’s greatest achievement. She holds Dual Registration meaning she’s qualified for both adult and paediatric care but chose to look after children throughout her nursing career.
“I started my job at Alder Hey back in 1985 working in the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) clinic before joining the nursing team on Ward E2. I remember it was a busy but friendly environment on the ward, which involved caring for many spinal patients.
“Over the years as technology progressed, the young patients were given high tech interventions to help treat them. As we grew as a specialist ward for trauma and orthopaedic patients I wanted to be able to keep up to date with developments and to enhance my knowledge I completed my Orthopaedic Diploma which led to a degree. I loved orthopaedics and enjoyed learning. I also got a lot out of mentoring students as I was able to share my knowledge and skills.
“Many patients would be on E2 for spinal and hip anomalies which would mean numerous treatments over many years. Seeing the children grow up allowed us to gain their trust and friendships, we became part of their family.
“A lot of the patients would come to the ward pain free. It’s our duty of care post-operative that they remain pain free. As a result I had the pleasure of working closely with the Pain Service.
Annette was promoted to Sister in the mid 1990’s and remained Sister on Ward E2 until she retired in early 2013. She didn’t have long to relax however as good friend and colleague Phil O’Connor, Lead Nurse asked Annette to share her experience to help out with management on the Medical Admissions Unit (MAU).
“Phil has been a great support over the years. He has a big patch to cover in Alder Hey and he’s passionate about the young patients being given the best care possible and the staff looking after them to have a good working environment.”
“Joining a medical ward like MAU was a culture shock but was a great refresher for me. I have huge respect and admiration for all of the team who work between MAU and the Winter Ward. They have a great skills set as they’re liaise closely with the Emergency Department and the busy environment means they’re under pressure but they work together fantastically.
“My son has grown up understanding that I’ve a demanding job and his dad was in the Fire Service, so unsocial hours were the norm but he realises we were both working to help others.
“I’ve been married for 40years and my husband and I,love to work, it’s where our second family is. I believe while you’ve got 100% to give, give it. Although I’m older than the young students, I’ve always been forward thinking and have embraced changes that the NHS has introduced over the years.
“I’m proud to have been a part of Alder Hey and hope that the staff who take forward the new Alder Hey in the Park make it a fantastic success as there’s still a great deal more to be achieved for the young people in our care.”