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15 years at Oaks Hospital - Tessa Guthrie

Tell us about your journey at Oaks Hospital?

SCARILY October marks 15 years for me at Oaks Hospital!

This time has seen me get married, my two boys grow up and a progression from Healthcare Assistant / Student Nurse to Ward Sister.

In October 2004, I commenced my very first student placement on the ward at Oaks Hospital. I was terrified! Having only worked in a care home previously for relative experience, there was a big learning curve ahead in an environment where patients expected exemplary care.

Luckily for me, I had an extremely knowledgeable and supportive mentor, who gave me the best start possible in my nursing career. I believe the initial exposure to the real thing can shape the kind of nurse you will become.  On speaking to fellow student nurses in my cohort, some of which were in tears on a daily basis due to how they were treated at other hospitals, I realised how truly lucky I was to be given this start. Especially given the fact that I had a 12 month old baby, so my home life was also busy!

I loved the environment SO much, rapidly learning about multiple specialties in surgical nursing with a fantastic team, each inspirational in their own right and many of whom are still here!

As I was nearing the end of my 6 month placement, I realised I did not want to end my time spent working at Oaks Hospital. So, on recommendation of my mentor, I applied to work as a Healthcare Assistant ‘on the bank’ so I could fill in shift vacancies when needed alongside continuing my Nurse training in other areas.

As soon as I had completed my 3 years training and became a qualified Nurse, during which time I had regularly worked shifts as a HCA at Oaks Hospital. I was given a full-time post on a medical care of the elderly ward at Colchester General Hospital, for which I was grateful as ironically there was a job crisis at the time. 60 of us qualifying had applied, only 21 awarded a post, of which only 8 jobs were full time hours. During this challenging start to my qualified career, which granted taught me a HUGE amount regarding prioritisation and organisation, I continued to work ‘bank nurse’ shifts at Oaks Hospital. It was always a pleasure to work here, where you have the time you want to give to your patient!

I waited patiently for a staff nurse post to become available at Oaks Hospital and was ecstatic to be given that opportunity in December 2009 (10 years ago now!)

Within 8 months I applied and was promoted to a Senior Staff nurse, coordinating shifts and overseeing the hospital out of hours.

Since then, I progressed to Ward/Ambulatory Unit Sister in May 2015. I have also trained/taught in multiple areas, both clinical and non-clinical over the last 7 years.

What is it you like about working at the Oaks?

I have so much to be grateful for! Oaks Hospital (Ramsay Healthcare) has given me multiple opportunities for career progression. Not only this but my personal life has seen some significant challenges, including my husband surviving bowel cancer, during which time I felt very supported and appreciated.

I also branched in to teaching/training, which is something I never thought I would venture in to and have been well supported in.

What Oaks Hospital offers as an employer, is an environment fit for purpose, where you can be the kind of health professional you aspire to be and if you have the drive can achieve anything with a good support network.

We have an incredible team, better now than ever. And the fact that we have a vast amount of very long-term employees is testament to Oaks Hospital ethos and the Ramsay Way, which has only evolved positively since I started 15 years ago.

I strongly believe that only you can determine how your day is going to go. You can make a difference, not only to a patient journey working in a hospital environment, but you also have the power to make that environment a great place to work! Every challenge can be overcome, if everything was easy life would be boring!

We are fortunate at Oaks Hospital that a huge percentage of the staff also reflect this train of thought ;-)

Thank you to Oaks Hospital for looking after me for the last 15 years!

Tessa Guthrie
Ward & Ambulatory Sister / Customer Service Excellence Champion / Drug Calculation Lead and trainer.


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