An insight into the life of a Trauma & Orthopaedics Nurse

Victoria Pye, Ward Manager in Trauma and Orthopaedics explains the challenges and rewards and highlights as a nurse on the ward. In 2019 Ward 14a were rated in the 3 best performing units in the country in relation to hip fracture care.

“I started working at QE Gateshead 17 years ago when I came as a student nurse, I then moved onto ward 14a from critical care 5 years ago. The size of the Trust means that you recognize people wherever you go and it is reassuring to have familiar faces around you and know who to go to when you need advice.

Working in Trauma and Orthopaedics is challenging and requires resilience, but it is also very rewarding. Our patients can be with us for several weeks allowing staff to build relationships with both patients and relatives.

80% of the patients are usually admitted with hip fracture but there are patients who suffer a wide-range of injuries, from falls, car accidents and dog bites to complications of substance misuse, so every day is different. After treatment in Emergency Care, they are then transferred to us on ward 14a for surgery, treatment and rehabilitation.

Our patients can have complex needs. Often they haven’t only suffered a trauma, such as a hip fracture, but they may also suffer from other long-term medical conditions.

We have introduced many changes on the ward to try to make life easier for people with dementia and a quicker, more seamless discharge. We also have a day room, with activities like painting and we do lots of work around nutrition. Our patients can also enjoy cream teas or try out our smoothie bar.

As nurses, we are part of a multidisciplinary team that involves nurses, physios, occupational therapists, medical staff, pharmacists and social workers.

Our aim is to support patients through the rehabilitation process so they can return home. Unfortunately, this is not always possible with many of our patients so many need further support on discharge.

Other patients may also have to come to terms with how their lives will never be quite the same as before their accidents. I remember a lady, she was in her 50s, really fit, enjoyed running and cycling, but she fell and shattered her hip, so it was going to be a big lifestyle change for her.

That is the hardest part of the job – knowing that unfortunately, some patients will never make a full recovery. But there is still a great satisfaction in thinking you have done your best for them.

Patients who require emergency surgery are often those who have sustained bone fractures following a trauma and are admitted via A&E. Ward 14a is our Trauma and Orthopaedic ward, which houses the Acute Hip Unit for patients with a fractured neck of femur (broken hip) and all other emergency Orthopaedic trauma patients.”

We’re recruiting in trauma orthopaedics, to join our team please visit NHS Jobs – reference number 297-1920-2009