People's History of the NHS


Portrait of Joy Walker

I’m the ward manager for ward D26. I work for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.

I’ve actually been in the NHS for 33 years. I started my nurse training in 1983.

My mother inspired me, she came over (from Jamaica) in the fifties. My mother was to do her nurse training, as a matter of fact, and in the fifties if you fell pregnant you were unable to her nurse training. So thank you mom, and thank you dad who’s encouraged me to be where I am today.

I started off as an SEN, called an Enrolled Nurse. That was classes as a level two. Following on after that I went on to do my SRN (State Registered Nurse) training, in which I’d got a diploma in nursing at the same time as well.

I’ve moved up through the grades from a junior staff nurse, to a senior staff nurse, and then I became a junior sister and then a ward manager. During that period of time I’ve worked in lots of different departments: in acute medicine, in elderly care, surgery, trauma and orthopaedics, over the years. I also worked as the discharge lounge coordinator at Sandwell and also pre-assessment for orthopaedics.

I’ve developed lots of skills - I’ve also acted as a matron for about six months - I thoroughly enjoyed that and I thoroughly enjoyed nursing.

Nursing is a vocation. Nursing is something I’ve always wanted to do. Not because of my position of who I am, it’s because I like to give care. I put my patients first; they are like relatives as well. They become part of my family. I believe in giving 100% in everything that I do.

I’m so proud of the organisation I’m in (NHS) there’s been some changes, good changes and not-so-good-changes but I’ve had to embrace that both personally and with my team.

I’ve also been nominated as a representative as leader for the Nursing Times award, which will be held in London on the 31st of October. So, I’m looking forward to that, I’m very overwhelmed.

I may be the engine on this ward, but my staff are the wheels, and with us working together we move the service forward.

All photographs copyright of Inès Elsa Dalal © 2019 Commissioned by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, 2018. No photographs or text may be referenced or published elsewhere, without prior permission.

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