NHS 70 stories - Chantal joins mum Sue in her career at Southmead Hospital

Monday, 9 July 2018

Sue Crew started her nurse training at Southmead Hospital in 1984 and now leads the training and development of nurses and other non-medical roles. Sue Crew and her daughter Chantal who both work at Southmead Hospital

Her daughter Chantal has also followed her into working at Southmead and is now an imaging support supervisor at the hospital.

During her training Sue and the other trainee nurses lived in Somerset House, which still stands near the Southmead Road entrance to the hospital. In the second year of training Sue and the other nurses were based at Ham Green Hospital, where she returned after qualifying.

In 1987 there were no permanent roles available after the nurses completed their training so they were only offered three-month contracts.

Sue started in the gynaecology and urological ward at Ham Green before moving into theatres. She stayed at the hospital until it closed later that year but there was still time to enjoy cricket on the lawn.

After Ham Green’s closure Sue moved to theatres at Southmead Hospital where she spent two years working in recovery.

Sue moved into renal nursing on S ward, after completing her renal course in 1989 she worked Renal Transplant Unit, and that’s where she stayed nursing., She saw many changes in the way renal care was delivered, the types of dialysis machines and the type of equipment, such as a move from re-useable dialyzers that used to be washed after use to disposable single use ones.

In 2001 Sue moved to a practice development role, at Southmead Training School until it merged with Frenchay.

Sue developed an interest in NVQs and went on to work on a nursing cadet programme to encourage people into nursing who might not have been suitable for a degree course but were interested in careers in caring.

In 2005 Sue went to the old strategic health authority education team to conduct a review into nursing cadets. Her findings were that work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships should be set up.

She then returned to Southmead to set up the assistant practitioner role and work on work experience and set up the NBT Schools Liaison Programme going to schools talking about careers in the NHS, extending the work experience programme and careers days

“My passion is the education in health care professional roles and developing people’s career paths right from the age of 16,” Sue said.

“I still think of Southmead as my home. I’ve grown up from a student and qualified nurse here and still think of it that way.

“I didn’t need to go anywhere else. I felt Southmead and NBT supported me through all my progression I needed.

“It wasn’t in my wildest ambitions at the time to be anything but a nurse until I went into education.”

Sue Crew graduating from Southmead School of Nursing in 1987

And now Southmead does not just feel like home, but is also where her daughter Chantal works.

Chantal was interested in physiotherapy and fitness but didn’t see university as the way forward for her and was looking for a job after finishing her A levels.

She joined the physio team at Southmead Hospital working with patients at the hydrotherapy pool while also undertaking a personal training apprenticeship.

“I left and had my little girl but then it was time and I wanted to come back to the hospital,” Chantal said.

“There is a really lovely atmosphere working here. I knew I wanted to come back but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.”

A role came up as an imaging support worker in the hospital’s radiology department, helping patients who require scans and X-rays.

After 18 months in the role Chantal became an imaging support supervisor.

“I wasn’t sure I would be good with patients but I liked it, although now that I am a supervisor I like making sure staff are happy even more. I think if the staff are happy the patients are happy. I think it helps because I have been in their shoes. I want to keep working my way up.

“I really loved physio and thought that’s what I’d go back to, but now I can’t imagine wearing blue trousers again.”

Chantal said that one of the things she likes about the imaging team is that it involves so many parts of the hospital.

“We do everything and get to see inpatients, outpatients, clinic patients, patients who are really unwell, A&E, trauma, broken bones, it’s very, very interesting,” Chantal said.

“I’ve worked out in the community as well and that is completely different from here, but it still feels like a family.”