NHS 70 stories - Rachel followed her mum into working in imaging at Southmead Hospital

Monday, 25 June 2018

Karen Collins has seen many changes since she started her nurse training at Frenchay in 1981 – including her daughter Rachel joining her at work in Southmead Hospital. Mum and daughter Karen and Rachel Collins both work in imaging at Southmead Hospital

Apart from taking time out to have her children between 1988 and 1991 Karen, an imaging sister, has spent her whole career in our hospitals.

Rachel also works in imaging, as a support worker, having started at Southmead Hospital in December 2014.

Karen said: “There were just 20 of us when I trained at Frenchay and we all knew each other, I’m still friends with several of them now.”

And she remembers the frustration of her brother when she used to practise her hospital corners while making beds at home.

“My brother used to stop me making his bed because he didn’t like the hospital corners,” she said.

After first qualifying Karen worked on neurosurgical wards at Frenchay. When she returned in 1991 after having her children she initially worked bank shifts before taking up a night post to fit in with childcare.

It was in 2006 that she made the move into working in imaging at the hospital and in 2014, with the move to the new Brunel building, Karen came to work at Southmead Hospital.

“I have seen so many changes in my time here,” she said.

“I am proud to be working for the NHS in its 70th year, that’s why I’ve lasted so long.

“I just love being with people, looking after people and learning new things all the time. It never stays the same and is constantly changing.”

Rachel started her career in childcare and had always been interested in working in a caring environment and when the Imaging Support Worker role came up she felt it was the “right job at the right time”.

The role involves working both at Southmead Hospital and out in the community at Cossham and Clevedon hospitals.

“I help get patients ready for their scans, check them in, help them get changed and am there for them if they need reassurance,” Rachel said.

“I think my mum being a nurse and coming home having cared for patients was part of why I wanted to do this.

“I love doing my job and know I can walk out every day knowing I’ve done a good job for the patients.

“I work in a great team and I think that helps.”

Karen added: “It’s nice that we both work here, we go for lunch together sometimes and see each other passing in the corridors and say hello.”