My job

60 seconds with major trauma nurse specialist Amanda Burston

Award-winning emergency care nurse Amanda Burston loves being part of an expert team that delivers high-quality trauma care to patients and families in times of crisis 

Award-winning emergency care nurse Amanda Burston loves being part of an expert team that delivers high-quality trauma care to patients and families in times of crisis. 

Major trauma nurse specialist Amanda Burston has spent the whole of her nursing career working in emergency care. Since qualifying in 1990 from the Royal Derby Infirmary, she has worked as a nurse, senior nurse and nurse educator, and is currently trauma co-ordinator for the emergency department (ED) at Royal Stoke University Hospital. 

In 2015, Amanda was crowned RCN Nurse of the Year for her innovative work with the Safer Steps programme, a service for victims of domestic violence she spearheaded at Royal Stoke’s ED. She is also a member of the RCNi editorial board. 

What are your main work responsibilities?

Following patients through their journey from when they arrive at the ED to going to theatre or a ward. I carry out assessments, including injury pattern documentation, do daily follow-up visits and liaise with families. My role also involves governance, audits and team briefings. 

How did you get your job?  

When the Royal Stoke Hospital was given major trauma centre status in March 2012, the opportunity to develop an ‘in house’ specialist team was required urgently. 

Who are your clients/patients?

Major trauma patients who receive urgent care at the scene and are then brought to Royal Stoke Hospital where the trauma team are ready and waiting. Patients arrive by land and air, and we cover local trauma calls and calls from North Wales.

What do you love about your job? Being part of an ‘expert team’. The team dynamics and approach to trauma care enable equality, shared cared and responsibility, as well as constant learning to ensure optimum outcome for patients and their families. In healthcare we are in such a privileged position to work for families during a crisis event, and we should never forget that. I appreciate the opportunities emergency care has given me.

What do you find most difficult?

Some days, despite your best efforts, you cannot turn a negative outcome into a positive one. Families look to healthcare professionals to perform miracles, but at times this is not possible. We all need to know we did the best we can within the time we were given.

What is your top priority at work?

Patient care. Patients involved in trauma can have devastating injures and experience great distress. Patients and the families require immense psychological support, and recovery can  be a long and difficult journey.

How have you developed your skills in this role?

I was fortunate enough to attend the European Trauma Course – an excellent course run all over Europe with an emphasis on simulation learning and learning in teams, with team member empowerment. 
The course gives you the opportunity to develop leadership and communication skills, as well as anatomy and physiology skills. I was also invited to be part of the National Nursing Trauma Education Group, which has written the trauma competencies and education strategy accepted by NHS England. These are being implemented across the UK. Networking is vital in all areas of nursing. This group bought together like-minded people and focused on improving educational standards for nurses involved in trauma care. 

What has been your most formative career experience?  

My journey in nursing has been filled with amazing peers and mentors who have aided, taught and developed me into the nurse I am today. I have so many people to be grateful too for investing time, energy and enthusiasm in my nursing career.  

What will be your next career move?  

I love education so my next role will definitely have an education element. Learning is for life!

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Some days are bad, some days are good. But this is the most privileged role in the world. 

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