International Nurses’ Day takes place on 12 May each year, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. It’s a chance to celebrate nursing staff around the world. Every day, nursing staff around the World go the extra mile for their patients. The nurses at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust are no different.

The theme for International Nurses Day 2022 is: Nurses, a voice to lead, with a focus on ‘Invest in Nursing. The IND2022 theme is particularly pertinent for NCIC as they announced earlier this year they would be investing £3.8m in permanent nursing positions. 

Jill Foster, Chief Nurse at NCIC:   

“The nurses we have here at NCIC deserve to be celebrated, I am proud of the dedication our nurses have shown, particularly through the last two years which has seen our nurses facing unprecedented challenges on a daily basis. 

This year’s theme, Invest in Nursing is particularly apt as we as a Trust have committed to invest £3.8m in permanent nursing positions which equates to an additional 31 registered nurses and 163 health care assistant posts. 

We are also devoted to creating more opportunities to enter the profession, with more routes into nursing than ever before. This will help to support the nurses we already have as well as helping to create our nursing workforce of NCIC’s future.”

Ruby Hamilton got in touch to say:  A huge thank you to Sue Zanetti renal nurse who is fantastic at her job, she goes above and beyond and makes every one of her patients feel important, even taking an interest in my children (prior to covid when they came with me to appointments!)

Christine Stewart, Eden ICC Community Manager said: I would like to thank all the nurses in Eden ICC who day in & day out go above and beyond in their pursuit of delivering safe, high quality & effective patient centred care to patients living in their own homes & in residential settings across the whole of Eden. Without exception they are all hard working often finishing late or doing additional hours to cover the case load and meet the needs of patients. They are kind, caring , compassionate, respectful & resourceful and always have the best interests of the patients & their families at the heart of everything they do.

The nursing teams work collaboratively with other disciplines to ensure the right care is delivered when it is needed.

All of the nurses work in very challenging situations at times – floods, snow, the rurality of the area  to mention a few – but their experience carries them through and with their innovative thinking & close connections with the Mountain Rescue teams, & 4x4 response vehicle teams, nothing is impossible. There are so many time I have been in awe of their skills & resilience in delivering care to an increasing complex group of patients..

Not only are the Nursing Teams in Eden ICC amazing in delivering patient care, they are hugely supportive of myself as Operational Manager & the other teams within the ICC. This has greatly contributed to the success of Eden ICC.

Behind every great team of nurses we mustn’t forget that there is also a great team of Health Care Assistants, Assistant Practitioners, Nursing Associates and administrative support who facilitate and contribute to the delivery of great care.

I do need to give a special mention to the two Team Leads, Linda Graham based in Penrith & Clare Martindale based in Upper Eden, as it is their exemplary leadership and role modelling  that inspires their teams to achieve such high standards. Clare & Linda should be proud of all they & their teams have achieved & the fact that they have inspired some of their teams to become nursing apprentices & CSP students so that we can future proof our workforce in the years ahead.

Thank you Team Eden Community Nurses for all you do every day.

Emma Mooney, Specialist Respiratory Nurse: Thank you to the nurses (and physio/admin team) at WEST COMMUNITY RESPIRATORY TEAM for their welcoming introduction and ongoing support in my new role within the team.

Jules Neeson; Administrator, Medical Procedures Unit, Cumberland Infirmary  

I would like to nominate Staff Nurse Carol “OorLass” Davidson for this. She works in MPU at CIC, she is absolutely brilliant at her job, her bedside/people

Skills are fabulous, all our patients are always singing her praises. She is 70yrs old and could still run circles round us all, she keeps us all on our toes.

And we all love and appreciate her very much, I think she deserves some recognition after spending over 30 years nursing.

My name is Emily and whilst on the NCIC site for another reason, I saw the article asking for positive nursing experiences. I can help with that!

My Gran is in the Cumberland Infirmary at the moment on Maple D. The nurse who I'd love to nominate for recognition is called Tess. She is a ray of sunshine on the ward and greets us warmly and by name every time we see her. She is so kind and considerate and has a great memory for names! 

Rather than feeling like another visitor to another patient, she welcomes and cheers us at what could be an alienating, sad and stressful time. Kindness doesn't cost anything, but it is good for the soul and gives us something positive to talk about on the drive home after our visit. 

Please pass on our thanks and it'd be brilliant if she could get some recognition for what a great job she's doing. 

Anonymous: I would like to thank our three Nurses that work in nuclear medicine, they are such a valuable resource and we are lucky to have them.

All 3 are very experienced, have decades of experience between them and we rely on them hugely for their knowledge about holistic and physical care of patients.

They bring warmth, compassion and humour to our working lives and we love them.

Aiden Leonard and Elaine (Kathleen) Irving – CIC; Anna George – WCH:

Kelly Mitchell HCA: I would like to thank Paula Salter lead Midwife on DAU Women’s outpatients. Paula has a heart of gold, Not only does she go above and beyond for her patients, she is always there for her staff. She is going to be a huge loss when she leaves at the end of May.


This year, NCIC are celebrating International Nurses' Day by sharing some of their inspirational nurses and their individual journey’s into nursing, from student nurse Anna -Leigh Bibby who is at the beginning of her career to Matron Christine Musgrave who has recently taken her flexible retirement. 

Each nurse has detailed their unique path, which highlights the reality that the journey to becoming a nurse is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. There has never been more opportunities to join this rewarding and fulfilling role.

IDN Anna-Leigh Bibby.jpgAnna-Leigh, 22, is also a bank health care assistant and works across all wards at NCIC.

She explains why she decided to go into nursing: “I decided to go into nursing to make a difference to people's lives and support them when they are most vulnerable.”

Anna-Leigh says she really enjoys the learning opportunities that the job provides.
She said:

“Every day is a learning day and prepares me for my future as a registered nurse. I would eventually like to specialise in emergency care.”

Anna-Leigh says to be a good nurse you have to be:

“Kind, compassionate and resilient.”

When we spoke to Anna-Leigh she was on placement at the Keswick Urgent Treatment Centre.

She said:

“We start by organising for the day ahead, from there we wait for anything that may walk through the door.”

Varsha Vinod is an international nurse working in the Copeland Unit at the West Cumberland Hospital.

She said:

Varsha Vinoid.jpg“I had a combination of emotions when I started my journey to the UK. I was worried about the culture, accent, climate, food etc. But when I started my journey with the Trust it all became cool especially my department. I am the first international nurse in my department. I was most worried about discrimination but I have not experienced anything like that and I don't have words to express how happy and satisfied I am. My colleagues are always asking me how I am and if I need anything or any support. I get these questions daily from my team.

“I am really, really proud to say that I have got such a wonderful team. They explain everything to me and what the procedures are.

“I have asked the same questions several times and I know I have annoyed them a lot, but they don’t ever complain and always greet me with a smile.

“There are a lot to say about my team because they are just fabulous.....

“I am trying to do my best and I am sure I can be better with their support.

“I am super proud to be with my Copeland Unit.”

Lauren ia a paediatric nurse and currently works in the childrens A&E department at the West Cumberland Hospital and also teaches advanced paediatric life support. She trained and worked in Newcastle as a paediatric nurse before working in children’s hospitals in London and Liverpool.

lauren bruce.jpgShe said: “I was lucky enough to work in many different paediatric specialities and see a lot of interesting things. After a few years of clinical work I wanted to further my professional development and completed a diploma in tropical nursing and master’s in public health. This enabled me to then work on a neonatal UNICEF project in Rwanda.

“Nursing is such a dynamic and changing role with lots of opportunities and different career routes. Being a nurse has enabled me to have lots of interesting life experiences and I am excited about what future opportunities may arise.”  

Christine Musgrave is a Matron on Wards 4 and 5 at the West Cumberland Hospital.

She started out as volunteer in 1983 before working as a health care assistant then started her nursing training at St Martins College in Carlisle.Christine Musgrave.jpg

She said:

“During my career I have had various jobs, all of which I have enjoyed. The biggest high was becoming a matron and having the opportunity to share my knowledge and help develop others while provide safe patient care.”

To be a nurse, Christine says you need to be calm and caring with good communication skills and a willingness to adapt to change.

Christine is soon to take flexi-retirement. She said:

“My current matron role is mainly safety and quality standards which includes staffing/ incidents/ complaints and shared learning to prevent any untoward incidents.”

And Christine has the following advice for anyone thinking of a career in nursing.

She said:

“Embrace the challenges and be prepared to move with the changes as the NHS is always evolving and changing.”

In her flexi-retirement Christine hopes to spend more time with her family and enjoy nice walks.

Clare Mounsey.jpegI started my apprenticeship in 2020 halfway through the pandemic which wasn’t ideal! I knew I wanted to work in a hospital and care for people, but I didn’t know where. I completed a nurse cadet programme at college which involved the NHS and it was through that I heard about the apprenticeship which sounded ideal for me. You also don’t have to worry about course fees as it is funded by the trust, and you also get to earn a wage whilst working and studying., but most of all you get hands on experience which is invaluable.

There were a few different routes I could take. I decided to do the degree apprenticeship which is 3 years and after it I will become a band 5 RGN. I knew I didn’t want to leave home and my family and where I live, it wasn’t going to be practical travelling to Carlisle uni 5 days a week.

The part I love most about the apprenticeship is working all the time although we have block placements when not on placement we go back to our base. I love that there are so many opportunities going from one extreme to another and I find it really helpful to get an insight to so many different areas and what opportunities are out there for when I qualify.

I feel very supported both on placement and on base. My managers and staff on the Copeland unit/Loweswater suite have been very supportive and give me all the encouragement I need! I don’t know where I would be without them.

I have still got a year left before I qualify. Everyone says it will fly in which is quite daunting but at the same time exciting. These past couple have years have prepared me for the time ahead. I have learned that no two days are the same and that every day is a learning day and will continue to be even when I have qualified.

Studying with the open university has been interesting and I was a bit apprehensive at first as it is a remote university where everything is online. However, the uni is well set up and organised and I can do my uni work around my shifts in the hospital. Although I do not have children, I would really recommend this route for those with families as it is very flexible, and you are in control of your own learning. Each module you get a tutor who is there to help and support you. We also get a designated study day a week which is counted in our contract hours. You get the best of both worlds, the academic and the practical and the opportunity to see where your strengths and weaknesses are to help you decide the area where you would like to specialise.

Gwen who is the practice development lead for the trust has also played a big part over the last couple of years, organising different presentations, guest speaks and courses which has enhanced my learning and competence.

I can’t say it’s been easy because it hasn’t and at times, I’ve lacked the motivation to do my theory, but I just remind myself how far I’ve come and will soon be in my blues.

On International day of the nurse, Georgia Wright, deputy chief nurse at NCIC has reflected on her own career and encourages others to go into nursing; describing it as a rewarding a privileged career.

She said:Georgia Wright.jpg

“Lots of things have changed since I started my nursing career in the 1980’s, some very simple and others more complex, some things that come to mind are:

  • We have lots more disposable items, reduces the amount of time spent washing equipment in the sluice
  • We have electronic thermometers – we used to have the ones with mercury in and if you dropped them and they broke you had to try and scoop up the mercury beads (avoiding the pieces of glass)
  • We have beds that can be raised and lowered and can assist patients to sit up, support their feet etc. As a young nurse I would regularly wrestle with the ‘backrest’ of the bed and position pillows to try and get patients comfortable (which was really difficult against a metal frame as the pillows used to move!) And we had to pump the beds up by foot using the pedals under the bed to the right height when making the bed / doing a bed bath / intervention.
  • We have moving and handling equipment – slide sheets, hoists etc to ensure we can move patients safely (for the patient and the staff) .
  • We have dignified continence products for patients to use – used to have large ‘nappies’ and draw sheets
  • We have much better preceptorship for newly registered nurses now. The training was different when I trained; we were very much part of the hospital team but this meant that as soon as you were qualified you were expected to carry on as the ‘staff nurse’ but it was still a bit daunting. Now the transition into the registered nurse role is managed better now with focused support.

I have been a nurse for 34 years this month (having started May 1988) and have been privileged to have looked after patients in many settings including Accident and Emergency, Acute Medicine (Gastro and Respiratory), Genito-Urinary Medicine, Elderly care and also managed children services for a period of time from 2013-2016.

When I started out as a nurse I wanted to be a ‘Sister’ and wear a Navy dress and did not imagine being anything other than a ward nurse. However, as the NHS has evolved and changed over time I have been lucky enough to move into roles in Practice Development and then into a Matron role, Head of Nursing Role, Associate Director of Nursing Role and then this Deputy Chief Nurse role.

I did not have a grand plan, I have enjoyed every job I have done and taken any opportunities that have been available. I have worked in 4 different NHS trusts – but only one twice – North Cumbria 2016-2018, then 2020 to present day.

I like to think I have ‘absorbed’ all the best bits of all the places I have worked and all the good people I have worked with and this has helped me to develop into the nurse I am today.

I am really proud of being a nurse, and of the impact nurses have in people’s lives –

  • supporting people at difficult times,
  • helping them to feel better,
  • providing treatment and interventions,
  • preventing further problems,
  • allaying fears,
  • explaining things so they can understand,
  • supporting and developing other staff,
  • advising on policies and protocols to keep patients and staff safe, and so much more.

What could I say to encourage others into nursing ? – Nurses are amazing, we do such a rewarding and privileged job sharing precious times with patients and families and being part of our ward/dept teams (2nd families) supporting each other the develop and grow and be the best we can be. We usually help to make people feel better and we provide support and comfort to them when we can’t.

There are so many excellent career opportunities and so many roles available for nurses to work in whatever their special interest or skill and there are new roles being developed all of the time. The possibilities are endless if you are not scared of hard work, because it is hard work but it’s so rewarding.

On the International Day of the nurse I would just like to say thank you to all of our nurses at NCIC for their incredible work, particularly over the past 2 years and I look forward to working with them all as we move out of the pandemic and continue to work to make a difference for the patients and families in our communities."

Calling all former nurses!

Every year thousands of nurses leave the profession for a plethora of reasons but thanks to a partnership between the Trust and the University of Cumbria the route back to nursing is straight forward.

At the University there is a course called return to practice where former nursing staff can do just that.

Claire Telford qualified to return to practice last year. She took a step back from nursing to raise her family 14 years ago and after seeing an advert for people who’d had a career in nursing to return and brush up their skills through the university of Cumbria, she decided to take the plunge.

Claire Telford 1 web portrait.jpg“At first I was really nervous, I thought I’ll never be able to do it so much has changed. I thought that it would take years to be able to come back but it didn’t. It has taken 6 months a lot of online training, one essay and placements.  People told me it would be like riding a bike and honestly it was. It is so easy to get back into it I would encourage anyone who is considering to come back to nursing to just do it. It will be different for people depending on how long you have been away but there really are opportunities for people to return to nursing no matter how long you have been away – one person in my cohort had been away for 25 years. There are also all disciplines of nursing, children, adult and learning disabilities.

“The university were so helpful any question I had they helped me with and at the Trust I have a mentor in Christine Magas.

“Don’t get me wrong it has been hard I’ve had to put the work to retrain and thing are different to how they were. Particularly the computer systems – everything was still handwritten when I left the digital age has made things much easier. The dressings have changed and people are much older and  have far more complex needs now

“I got a bursary but it isn’t enough to live off and I have had to work elsewhere to earn money but I am so pleased that I made the call after seeing that advert.

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