Feb 10th 2017

Seeing double at A&E

Patients visiting the Trust might think they’re seeing double when they bump into Alexandra Hanson and Sophie Germain – for the twin sisters both work as A&E nurses.

Alexandra is based at Sandwell Hospital, whilst Sophie is based at City Hospital.

And although the sisters are not identical twins, they are certainly difficult to tell apart – which has left some of their fellow medics and patients confused over the years.

Alexandra laughed: “After we qualified as nurses, we worked in Sandwell Hospital on the same floor. Sophie would work the day shift and then I was on the night shift.

“I remember colleagues used to think I worked 24 hours. When I came on my shift, doctors would ask me questions like ‘have you not gone home yet?’ or ‘are you not tired? You look so fresh.’ It was really funny to hear.”

Sophie added: “There was one occasion when a patient came running up to me and hugged me. He said ‘hello Alex, how are you?’ I had to explain to him that I was Sophie, and he had mistaken me for my sister.”

Working together as nurses also has its advantages when the sisters are out and about. In 2012, the twins witnessed a road accident involving an eight-year-old girl.

Alexandra explained: “The girl had been hit by a van at a bus stop and had been badly injured. She was covered in blood.

“We rushed straight to her. Sophie held her, just in case she had a spinal injury and tried to stop the bleeding. I reassured the van driver who looked like he was going to pass out.

“Fortunately, the paramedics arrived in time and the girl was taken to hospital, where she was successfully treated.

“I’m glad we were both in the right place at the right time to help her.”

The sisters have always worked together closely, and were first employed at the Trust nine years ago.

After starting out as domestic workers, they then went on to university where they studied their nursing degree.

Sophie (left) and Alex (right) when they were young 

Whilst studying, they worked extra hours as healthcare assistants at the Trust.

Alexandra explained: “We both really wanted to care for people and look after them. We had thought about being police officers; however, we were inspired to follow in the footsteps of our mum and nan who were nurses.  And we have never looked back since.”

Sophie said of her time at the Trust: “We absolutely love working here. It has been a great experience to work in different roles over many years.

“It has helped us to understand how other departments work and we have developed great relationships with our colleagues.”

When asked why both chose to work in A&E, Alexandra said: “I absolutely love it. A&E is very fast-paced and you can see how quickly patients recover. It’s a very rewarding job.”

Sophie explained that it was her sister who influenced her to join the emergency department.

 “I came to A&E because Alex told me how great it was and she was absolutely right,” Sophie said.

 “I just really enjoy the adrenaline from this job and the department allows us to do different training to enhance our skills.”

 Sophie and Alexandra have recently been promoted to senior nurse level.

 “The Trust has been very supportive with our development,” Sophie explained.

 “Our A&E departments at Sandwell and City Hospitals welcomed us with open arms and gave us all the training. We are also lucky to have our family’s support. Our mother also works at the Trust as a senior nurse and our father is a porter at Sandwell Hospital. They are really helpful in giving us advice for our career.”

Their ambitions don’t stop there. They plan to undergo more training and the pair are also providing support to students and newly qualified nurses.

Alex added: “I just want to give them the help and guidance that we were given by the seniors who mentored us.”

Click on the clip below to watch the video of Alex and Sophie sharing their story.


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