My nurse helped me overcome my fear of hospitals


My nurse helped me overcome my fear of hospitals

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Patient Cathy Selby says Florence Kissi’s ‘amazing care and megawatt smile’ helped her overcome her fear of hospitals

Florence Kissi, sister at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, went the extra mile for one patient and her family.

Ten years ago, at the age of 40, I had a major stroke and lost my life overnight. During my stay in hospital I was abused by healthcare staff.

It destroyed my faith in the system, and that of my family, and I became reluctant to receive care, refusing admission to hospital.

Ten years later I experienced another stroke that robbed me of my ability to swallow. It was a difficult year, with several resuscitation attempts after choking, and I was told I would have to have a PEG tube fitted or I would die.

I was terrified and cried when I was admitted to Queen’s Hospital in Romford, but Clementine A ward sister Florence Kissi and her team were amazing.

Warm and inspiring 

Florence arranged for my husband Mike to be with me at all times. She even arranged for him to stay overnight, but I felt so comfortable with her I didn’t need him to be there. Mike often talks about how comfortable she made him, too, taking time to come and check how he was.

A few days later I was discharged, but didn’t have all of the necessary resources, such as syringes. Florence saw to this and called us, and Mike went to collect what I needed from the ward, where he was met with her megawatt smile and a hug.

In the weeks after my hospital stay there were severe complications and I had chronic diarrhoea and sickness. I got so low that I didn’t want to live anymore; it was a dark time for me and my family.

I was admitted back to the ward and back to Florence. She arranged for my family to be with me, helped me with my wheelchair and spent time with me to make sure I wasn’t lonely. She ensured I had time out of the ward and that my assistant dog Magnum could visit. I can’t explain what that meant to me.

Her warmth and the way she inspired her staff were amazing, and after one month I left hospital in a much better state than I had arrived in, which was largely due to the care Florence and her team provided. She completely restored my trust in health care, and my family and I believe this has changed our lives forever.