Rebecca Ellen Bridger

Please briefly describe your clinical/medical experience to date?

I became a nursery nurse at the age of nineteen after I left college following completion of BTEC National Diploma in Nursery Nursing. My first ever job was as a nursery nurse in a Special Care Baby Unit. My main role was to care for the “feed and grow” babies until they were big enough to go home. I provided a lot of support to vulnerable families in helping them to gain the skills in caring for their baby. I absolutely loved this job and a year later I applied to become a children’s nurse. My training was challenging and enjoying. I experienced a wide variety of children’s nursing, completing placements in medical, surgical paediatrics, children’s A and E, neurosurgery, endocrinology and oncology. After I completed a National Diploma in Higher Education and qualified as a children’s nurse. I knew that I wanted to do intensive care and that I loved babies! I obtained a job at the Royal London Hospital on an ward for children under the age of two and a high dependency unit. This consolidated my learning and inspired me to obtain a post in a children’s intensive care unit. I applied to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and was successful in my application to do a short high dependency rotation with a permanent job in children’s intensive care. I completed six months in children’s intensive care and six months on the children’s renal ward. I completed this in 2003 and have been working in children’s intensive care ever since at the same Trust! Since this time I have specialist qualifications in children’s cardiac care and children’s intensive care. I am care for children needing advanced renal replacement therapy, extra corporeal membranous oxygenation and retrieval of children in need of intensive care. The children I care for range from birth right up to sixteen years. I care for children who have had cardiac surgery, kidney transplants, neurology, respiratory and airway and metabolic and anything else in between! I have progressed so far that I am now a band7/ward sister and am often in charge of the shift in the children’s intensive care unit. My first love and passion has always been in caring for the children at the bedside, it really is a true privilege.

What motivated you to enter paediatric care in the first place?

I have always wanted to be a nurse ever since I can remember. As a small child I loved to dress up as a nurse and stick plasters on my dolls and teddies.

How will the funding from The Evie Dove Foundation help you to advance your career and your impact/services to children?

One of the wonderful things about nursing is that you are always learning and that the learning you obtain goes towards providing better care for your patients and enables you to share your knowledge and change practice for the better. Although I have been a nurse for 23 years I was not able to afford to obtain a degree in children’s nursing. Now that I am in a leadership role I would like to obtain a degree to reflect my level of experience and to be able to learn more to lead change for the better in children’s intensive care nursing.

How did you find out about The Evie Dove Foundation?

Unfortunately, funding for education has been severely cut and my employer was unable to fund the continuation of my degree. Thankfully, the head of education recommended applying to The Evie Dove Foundation and explained to me what the Foundation is about and the good work that they do.

Tell us about yourself!

I am 46 years old and live in Hertfordshire on the border with North West London. I am married and have three children. Two sons and a daughter. My son is sixteen and the twins are twelve. We also have a three month old puppy who is lots of fun and keeps us all on our toes! I am a vice chair of governors at the children’s secondary school and lead on safeguarding, behaviour, special educational needs and wellbeing. In my spare time I love being with my family, walking, going to the gym, reading and sewing.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience, future aspirations and motivations?

I am looking forward to using my knowledge and learning to help to improve care for our patients and their families and to inspire others to do the same. I am humbled and truly grateful to the Evie Dove Foundation for helping me to achieve this aspiration and I look forward to helping the Foundation in the future in any way I can!