Please briefly describe your clinical/medical experience to date?
I am Paediatric Respiratory Clinical Nurse Specialist working at Kings College Hospital for the past 8 years. I worked at the Royal Brompton Hospital prior to this post as a Respiratory and Cardiac staff nurse with deep interest in respiratory medicine. I am a lead for Smoking Cessation for the Paediatric service since 2017, passionately involved in reducing paediatric respiratory symptoms influenced by passive smoke inhalation. I am also passionate about reducing the incidences of adolescent vaping. I a member of the National Paediatric Respiratory and Allergy Nurses Group (NPRANG) to promote and improve the health of all children and young people with Respiratory disease. I have been published in numerous medical journals such as The Lancet Respiratory Journal and European Journal of Paediatrics. I have been interviewed in The Guardian in June 2023 with the article ‘Child Vaping Crisis’ , sharing my professional experience in the field of vaping in adolescents.
What motivated you to enter paediatric care in the first place?
As a child I was often sick with pulmonary issues and I my paediatrician requested for me to stay for 3 months in a rehabilitation facility in high mountains in my birth country Slovakia. As much as I understood how important the recovery for me was, the health facility was 5 hours away from home and i was very home sick and could not see my family very often. I have then developed a curiosity in nurses jobs and often asked if i can help them with simple ‘nursing’ tasks. I believe this experience gave me a great satisfaction how nursing is caring and how the children appreciate them but also how much I relied on them when I felt alone and sick. Being a children nurse makes me feel that I can make a diffrence in the child’s and parents life by improving their health or care even little.
How will the funding from The Evie Dove Foundation help you to advance your career and your impact/services to children?
This funding is very much appreciated as specialist nursing should be a field of an expert. If I can share and learn from other clinitians and nurses from all over the world and learn new scientific improvements in children’s care than I dont thonk i am doing a justice to the children in our care delivering the best care possible. In terms of advancing my career, I am seeing this opportunity as acquiring more knowledge to be able to do more advanced reaserch into vaping in adolescents health effects and also be able to share my extended knowledge with other NHS Trusts or young children and young adults facilities such as Mental Health and Community.
How did you find out about The Evie Dove Foundation?
The Evie Dove Foundation is very well know in our Paediatric service for their passion in helping paediatric professionals with sponsorship of their further education in order to help sick children. When I shared my difficulties in covering my conference journey to our lead consultant he mentioned The Evie’s Fund.
Tell us about yourself!
I was originally born in Slovakia, Bratislava but I have moved to UK London in 1994 first as an Aupair and Nanny looking after children all over London. I mostly enjoyed my last family with a beautiful little boy that was diagnosed with a cerebral palsy and needed home nurse/nanny, he was an absolute joy to look after and I always loved his smiles. I am also a mother of three children Imogen 22, Xavier 18 and Roman 14 and we all live in South East London except Imogen who is enjoying her University time in Edinburgh studying Chemistry and Xavier will also leave the nest soon to study Philosophy in Nottingham. I will miss them very much but will hold on to my ‘baby’ Roman for now. In my spare time I enjoy reading books but mostly scientific once or any other that helps me to understand life more. My absolute favourite book is ‘Four Thousands Weeks’ by Oliver Burkeman, how we should enjoy every day of our life fully with no regrets because our life is finite and how we should get better with our relationship with time , pay more attention to every moment. I am also an avid photographer and successfully finished BTECH in Photography while working as a nanny, which later led me to work professionally as a portrait and wedding photographer with my work exhibited in a small gallery in Brixton in 1998. When I first had my first daughter Imogen I have returned to nursing that I started in Slovakia and never looked back. I love travelling to different countries but I also enjoy any part of UK, especially Scotland for long walks and discoveries. It is the ‘mundane’, unknown and simple things in nature that always makes me wonder and keeps me focused when the life at times becomes ‘just too much and heavy’ for a bit.
Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience, future aspirations and motivations?
My ultimate aspiration in personal and professional life is always to ‘improve’ in myself. Improve my relationship with my children, my husband and my family. To always find time for them even if busy. This aspiration I also apply to my work. I do not have a tick box how to improve my work CV, I may be at the ‘golden’ age, but what I am passionate about and how that passion reflects on improvement in care. I particularly enjoy when the care, myself and my service delivers to patients and parents/carers, positively impacts them when they remember you because it made the difference in their life at that time. It is an honour when parents believe and trust the nursing/medical professional with their child and joy when they believe you made a difference.