My job

My job: senior charge nurse

Senior charge nurse and lecturer practitioner, Edward Baker, on how TV medical dramas influenced his career.

Senior charge nurse and lecturer practitioner, Edward Baker, discusses how TV medical dramas influenced his career and the importance of resilience

 What is your job?

I am a lecturer practitioner and senior charge nurse in the emergency department at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London. My role focuses on clinical practice, education, research and management.

Edward Baker

I am also currently undertaking a PhD investigating the effect of complex interventions on long-term outcomes for patients with significant blunt thoracic trauma.

Why did you become an emergency nurse?

There was a variety of factors involved. To be honest, I would be lying if I denied the influence of TV medical dramas such as Casualty when I was growing up. I found the environment exciting from the moment I started but I also received support and direction from some special emergency nurses in my early career – cementing my love for emergency care.

What might you have done otherwise?

I was lucky enough to have a music scholarship at school and studied the double bass and piano and all indicators were pointing to a career as a professional musician.

How and where have you developed your emergency care skills?

I started working in my first emergency department (ED) in Dorset as an auxiliary nurse when I was 17. This gave me an excellent foundation. I trained at King’s College London and throughout those three years, I had a part-time job as an ED technician at the Royal London Hospital, in Whitechapel.

Since qualifying, I have worked in the ED at King’s College Hospital in London.

How does your current job make use of these?

As an academic and educator, I regularly use my experiences and skills from practice in my teaching. Equally, I take my education role and the associated leadership skills from the lecture theatre back in to my practice area.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Even on the hardest days in the ED, I love seeing the teamwork and selfless behaviour my colleagues demonstrate. As a senior nurse in ED, it is great to support the team, providing them with leadership and development opportunities where I can. I can honestly say I work in a fabulous team of top quality emergency nurses.

What achievement makes you most proud?

Developing a PhD project which has a strong translational approach and is likely to have an impact on patient care. As this study develops, I find its potential exciting.

What makes a good emergency nurse?

I have learned you need to be adaptable and highly resilient to survive the job.

What keeps you awake at night?

The current changing state of emergency care in the NHS is a scary prospect. Emergency nurses are at the core of every ED and it is only through developing the emergency nursing role and pulling together our networks that we can continue to provide safe and patient-centred care.

What advice would you give a nurse who’s starting out in emergency care?

Keep faith. Times are hard but modern day emergency nursing has great scope and there will be many opportunities available to you. Make sure you seize every opportunity available and use your skills for the patients’ benefit.

What is likely to affect emergency nurses most over the next 12 months?

We’re likely to see another significant drop in funding for continuing personal and professional development, making education for emergency nurses even harder throughout the NHS. As a professional group, we need to ensure we don’t lose the educational opportunities which emergency nurses need.

There also needs to be continued emphasis on staff retention so we don’t lose the pool of great talent we have developed.

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