Photo: Mary Hawkesford

Mary Hawkesford's story

Mary worked as a nurse and midwife for 19 years, but a period of ill health meant she was unable to work on the wards. After 15 years away from nursing, Mary could not escape the yearning to return to practice and joined the Trust in 2013.

During her time away from nursing, Mary worked in a variety of caring roles in the community, including a period working as a teaching assistant.

After witnessing the building of the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) and hearing about the way in which the hospital was run from her husband, who also works in the NHS, Mary decided that QEHB was the hospital she wanted to work at: “Nursing is just part of who I am. Over the years I kept thinking about returning to nursing and every time I visited a relative in hospital I had to resist the urge to rearrange support cushions and help change dressings – it’s just something instinctive within in me.

“After much deliberation I decided to go for it. I signed up to a Return to Practice course in 2013 and worked as a healthcare assistant for four months while I completed the training.

“It is quite daunting coming back to nursing after such a long time away, but I can’t fault the hospital – the level of support you get to come back into nursing is just fantastic. People just want to help you and guide you through.

“I didn’t have rose-tinted glasses on – I had been a nurse before and I knew that that nothing is perfect, not even in a brand new hospital. However, I knew this is one of the best places to work and I felt well-prepared to join the Critical Care team.

“I undertook the preceptorship programme, which was invaluable because the Education team provides a lot of support and help you rediscover your skills or, as in my case, teach you new things to give you the confidence to put on the uniform again.

“I wondered whether I could still do a job that involved night shifts, but I needn’t have worried – the team on my ward is outstanding.

“I love working in Critical Care. There is flexibility in terms of the hours you work and we all pull together and muck in – there is a real sense of camaraderie.

 “There are lots of opportunities across the hospital, no matter which route you wish to take in the future – I defy anyone to come here and not find something that suits them.

 “I am hoping to progress to a Band 6 role, and I know my manager and my colleagues will help me to achieve that because everyone in the team wants the best for you.”