Carmel Madden

Matron on AMU 1 and 2

AS A wide-eyed child, Carmel Madden watched as nurses cared for her mummy, and so inspired was she that she dreamed of one day following in the footsteps of the nurses who moved a little girl to choose a career path in caring.

As matron of one of the fastest-paced wards in Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Carmel (48) works on AMU (Acute Medical Unit) 1 and 2 wards at City Hospital. She manages 120 staff and ensures all patients (many in a critical condition) receive the best care possible.

She said: “AMU is a very fast-paced environment. We work very closely with A&E and GPs to receive patients who are in need of urgent help. People come to us when they are very poorly and we try our best to manage their conditions as quickly as possible.

“I am very proud of my team. We have a strong record in treating and discharging patients quickly. Patients in pain or needing hospital treatment don’t want to wait around, so we are proud that the majority of our patients are discharged or moved to different wards within four hours. This is a team effort. We have meetings with our multidisciplinary teams every day to discuss the care plans for our patients. Consultants are always on the units to ensure patients are well looked after.”

Carmel has been at the Trust for 30 years. She first came to SWB for an interview for nurse training when she was 16. She said: “Actually, at that time I already had an offer from Selly Oak Hospital. But my dad insisted I take the interview at Dudley Hospital, which is City Hospital now. The moment I entered the hospital, I knew I would like to work here as long as I can.

“The hospital has such a multicultural environment. I have met people from all over the world. My professional friends are from diverse backgrounds and continents from Africa to Asia. I have learned so many things outside of my profession, directly because of this job. For example I never had an Indian meal until I came to work here and I have never looked back since my first taste – and my family agrees as we now share a love of spice.”

Carmel is very passionate about her work, she said: “Being caring and compassionate are the two fundamental principles that I always carry with me. I want to make sure that my patients receive the best care possible, delivered in a truly compassionate manner. I think when you demonstrate that you understand what your patients go through and share that with them, it will help lift up patients’ spirits and make a difference to their time in hospital.

“Being a matron helps me to oversee how we work as a team and be able to support my colleagues better. However, being a matron also means that the time I have with patients is less than I used to have when I was a sister. Patient contact is always a joy for me, but I understand the matron role can impact patient care much more.”

Carmel also added that she often takes extra shifts so she can have more time with her patients, she said: “I just love working so much. The fact that I can be there and take care of my patients is already the highlight of my day.

“My strong work ethic probably came from my dad, who continued working until he turned 72 and now, he still comes and helps me and my siblings when we need him.

“He is my hero actually. He inspires me to work harder and push myself.”

When asking why she chose to become a nurse, Carmel said: “When my mum had to stay in the hospital and I was only seven years old, I saw how the nurses took care of her and other patients and that inspired me to choose a career in nursing.”

In her spare time, Carmel spends time reading. She and her colleagues often swap books with each other so they can enjoy a wide range of subjects.

Carmel lives with her husband and their 16 year old son in Erdington.