May 10th 2019

From comic book inspiration to NHS Hero: Amber Markham

Amber Markham, Matron for Critical Care Services, Long Term Follow up and Pain Service

In another life Amber Markham would have been quite content running a little bistro on a quiet bit of the coast, capitalising on her love of cooking and the outdoors. Perhaps somewhere in Cornwall, where she’d make a beeline for if you’d give her half the chance (“I find it blows all the cobwebs away”) however if she had, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and the NHS itself would be shy of one of its heroes.

Fortunately for the Trust, Amber would get inspiration on her future career direction in health care from an unusual source – comic books.

She explained: “I used to read a girl’s comic called Twinkle and there was a character called Nancy who had a dolly hospital, so I aspired to be Nurse Nancy. Now I want to ensure that patients receive not just the highest quality safe care but also receive a good experience whilst on critical care services (CCS).

As Matron for CCS, Long Term Follow up and Pain Service, Amber is at the forefront of making sure that the care patients receive at a crucial time is the very best it can be. Indeed, she classes the Trust’s recent CQC rating of ‘outstanding’ for care as a personal career highlight.

She says: “I love the team I work with and am constantly impressed with their dedication to our patients. Always one of the real joys of the job is seeing a patient return to us looking well and having made a full recovery. No day is ever the same, and I’ve got to say that I really like that.”

Amber is not one to stay still and is always aiming for new heights – although not literally, as she freely admits they “scare the living daylights” out of her. But in terms of her profession she is always driven to be better and at the end of last year completed her Master’s degree in Healthcare Leadership at the University of Wolverhampton. An achievement  that took her two years in between her work at the Trust and caring for her family.

Of her own heroes, Amber admits to having many, although when it comes to leadership she cites the strength showed by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden in the aftermath of the recent horrific events in the country.

Next up for Amber herself though is more work with the Long Term Follow up Support Service as she’s set to investigate ways to reduce negative states such as delirium through controlling sensory stimuli. Be that such as mood lighting, calming music, ways to monitor the sound levels.

And if there’s one person you’d definitely want lighting the way into that future, it’s Amber.


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