Sam Hildebrand ImageHi, my name is Sam Hildebrand and I am currently a Senior Sister in the Emergency Department at Darent Valley Hospital (DVH). I started my adult nursing diploma training when I was 18 years old and straight out of school. I joined the trust as a bank HCA in 2010 whilst I was doing my nursing training. Straight from qualifying in 2013 I knew I wanted to stay at DVH so started my new role as a band 5 nurse on Rowan ward. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in surgical nursing but at a young age and at the start of my career I felt a change was needed to help me develop further as a nurse. So after 18 months on Rowan ward, I moved to ITU, still at DVH. ITU was a massive challenge and definitely helped me to develop my critical care skills.

After spending 14 months in ITU, I moved to ED as a band 5 nurse. This was a complete eye opener for me as a nurse and really challenged me. After a few months of settling into the department I knew emergency medicine was my calling and I knew this was the place I wanted to develop further into.

In 2017, I was promoted to an Emergency Care Nurse. This role allowed me to work predominately in the Resus department, and use my critical care skills to care for priority calls and some of the sickest patients within the hospital. Throughout this time I was developed educationally to help me towards my degree in nursing.

After over two years within this role I wanted to develop more on my management skills so applied for a secondment as a senior sister, still within ED. I was successful but however this had to delayed as I was redeployed to Laurel ward for the first wave of the Covid pandemic due to my skills in critical care nursing. I was very nervous about going back to a ward after so long but Laurel ward definitely helped me settle in very quickly and made me feel part of the team during such a difficult time. After 4 months, I went back to ED to start my secondment as a senior sister. I have since been offered a permanent Band 7 post and am thoroughly liking my role and enjoying the new challenges I am facing.

I am excited to see how my career continues to progress whilst at Darent Valley Hospital!

Teresa's Career JourneyMy name is Teresa and I have worked for the Trust since 1998, starting at Joyce Green Hospital Main Theatres as a Health Care Assistant (Auxiliary Nurse then).  My learning for my new role was provided by the more experienced HCAs at the time, being given a mentor and following her lead. I was also guided by the Nurses and ODP's within the department, moving all together to Darent Valley Hospital in 2001.

Eventually I progressed to my NVQ's 2&3, and these then put me on the right road to be able to contemplate my Nurse training, some 9 years later.   I had to be interviewed by the Practice Development Nurse (PDN), as to why I wanted to do my Nurse Training.   As I loved working in Theatres so much, I was also given the opportunity to apply for my ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) training, however, Nursing was the training for me!

I then spoke to my Theatre Matron at the time, about the possibility of being seconded for my 3-year training,  this then had to be agreed by the Theatre Manager, which thankfully it was. My 3 years at university then began. My training was mainly at Darent Valley, I got to experience life on the wards and other department along the way. My experience as a student has certainly put me in good stead to be a good mentor myself, as I can still remember what it was to be a student myself.

I finally finished my training in 2010 and enjoyed it very much, I'm very thankful to the trust for my secondment, as I know trying to fund myself would have been very difficult, having a family and mortgage.   Finally coming back to theatres, learning to scrub and adjust to life as qualified personnel, with responsibilities, I can honestly say I enjoy every day.   The support that I had from my colleagues was amazing, theatre life is exceptional, we seriously are like a big family, we have our moans and groans, our tough times, but we stick together and look out for each other.
I started out as a complete novice, having never worked in a hospital before, let alone for critical care, and I am now proud to say I am a band 6 sister in Theatre Recovery, where my daily duties not only consist of supporting the recovery team (and them me at times) but scrubbing, coordinating and giving the best care I can to my patients and being there as a confident and support for my colleagues if they ever need it.