NHS Blood and Transplant is a special health authority that provide a blood and transplantation service to the NHS, looking after blood donation services in England and transplant services across the UK. This week, we’re looking at the work of specialist organ donation nurse Angela Ditchfield.
I started my career in critical care and I completed my degree in nursing shortly after qualifying. I went onto complete several leadership courses and worked my way to becoming a sister on the critical care unit. Here I developed a passion for organ donation and I knew this is an area where I wanted to work.
“As a specialist nurse organ donation, I have seen the positive impact donation can have on families”
I left critical care to take on the role of bereavement support nurse to gain additional skills in communication and bereavement. Shortly after starting this role a position came up with the organ donation team with NHS Blood and Transplant and I knew that I had to apply.
The role of specialist nurse organ donation is unique. We are in a privileged position where we meet amazing families at such a distressing time and work together to try and elevate some of their anguish.
No two days are the same and we work alongside the whole of the multi-disciplinary team to ensure that patients and families are offered the best end of life care and support. Working across a large region, we visit many critical care units all of which help and support us as a team to ensure that patients wishes are fulfilled and families are given comfort during their difficult time.
As a specialist nurse organ donation, I have seen the positive impact donation can have on families, which gives hope to the patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
For the past year, I have been working as the diversity lead nurse for organ donation and transplantation, engaging with black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to increase understanding of organ donation.
Engaging with communities, key stakeholders and the wider NHS has provided me with a broader understand of how we, as a team can support the many diverse families we meet.
Being the diversity lead nurse has allowed me to enhance my skills and has given me opportunities to learn about other cultures and communities.
With this new knowledge I am working towards implementing processes which will help to support the specialist nurses and help to deliver the organisational strategy.
Since working for NHS Blood and Transplant I have been encouraged to develop both personally and professionally. I have completed several leadership and mentoring courses whilst in my role.
In 2014 I was honoured to be awarded the Mary Seacole Leadership award for research I had carried out in the Asian community where I worked.
“I feel fortunate to be able to spend my time working with a wonderful team and meeting some incredible families”
This award allowed me to travel to South Korea to present my research at an international conference, I also travelled to the USA to spend time working with the organ donation teams there. I was also privileged to be presented with NHS Blood and Transplant employee of the year.
I have always been supported and encouraged to develop my career and be the best. I am currently undertaking my professional doctorate program which NHS Blood and Transplant have motivated and supported me to do.
Working for NHS Blood and Transplant is fantastic. Not only are you encouraged to develop and grow as a professional you also get to work and meet some amazing people.
The job is second to none and every day I feel fortunate to be able to spend my time working with a wonderful team and meeting some incredible families. I can honestly say I love my job and take pride knowing we are working together to save lives.
- This is the third in a series of blogs from the nursing team at NHS Blood and Transplant. Read earlier articles in the series here: Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Ben Cole and Meet the NHS Blood and Transplant team: Marion Jones
NHS Blood and Transplant is a special health authority that provide a blood and transplantation service to the NHS, looking after blood donation services in England and transplant services across the UK. This includes managing the donation, storage and transplantation of blood, organs, tissues, bone marrow and stems cells, and researching new treatments and processes. Find out more about nursing careers at NHS Blood and Transplant.