Vikki Howard – Senior Sister
BORN and bred in West Bromwich, senior sister Vikki Howard has already dedicated nearly 20 years of her life to ensuring the local community is well looked after.
Vikki dreamed of becoming a nurse from she was 10 years old and qualified before she turned 21. Now, 14 years later, Vikki is the lead for a new medical ward at Sandwell Hospital, run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. The senior sister is immensely proud of her NHS journey. She said: “l love being a nurse and I’m so grateful that I have been supported all the way by the Trust to pursue my childhood dream.
“I’m now managing Lyndon 5 ward, which recently celebrated its first anniversary. We look after elderly patients and aim to provide the best possible care.”
Since the ward opened, Vikki and her team have achieved incredible results to date. She smiled: “We ensure that all aspects of care are delivered to the highest standard and we have successfully implemented a new safety initiative which is something we are really proud of.”
Working in a new and fast-paced environment might be a challenge for many people, but not for Vikki. She explained: “I’m fortunate to have such a great team, where everyone supports each other to deliver the best care possible to patients. It’s so wonderful to see how we make a difference to those in our care and their relatives by carrying out simple acts. I always spend extra time sitting with patients and offer them a cup of tea, or I am there for their relatives should they need a shoulder to cry on.
“For me, caring is not just about physically looking after patients, but also making sure they are ok mentally. I always treat them like they are my family.”
Besides her clinical work, Vikki focuses on looking after the next generation of nurses. She has been mentoring many qualified nurses. She explained: “I love watching my mentees grow and develop their skills. Many junior nurses that I used to look after have now become senior nurses, which makes me so proud.”
Vikki is currently working with the recruitment team on its current campaign, which will see a jobs fair held on 1 December, at City Hospital. She said: “As our team is now expanding, I’m looking to recruit more talented, enthusiastic, and compassionate nurses to join my team. Our culture is all about embracing change and we are determined to succeed.”
When not at work, Vikki enjoys spending time with her 11-year-old daughter by taking her to theatre.
So who is Vikki’s NHS hero? “It has to be Debbie Fretwell, who is a Matron at the Trust. She is formidable and she taught me to become a good nurse. I’m forever grateful for her help.”
To find out more about the recruitment event at the Postgraduate Centre, City Hospital, Dudley Road, please visit www.swbhjobs.co.uk/our-events for more information.