National Work Life Week - Sigita's Story
To mark National Work Life Week, Sigita Rapnikiene, a registered nurse here at NELFT, shares her experiences of balancing her work and home life.
"My name is Sigita, and I am currently working for North East London NHS Trust (NELFT) in Billericay/Brentwood ICT
"I am a registered nurse, and my job role is quite vast. Day-to-day, I am visiting housebound patients in the area to assist them with wound dressing changes, medication administration, catheter care, palliative and end of life care, visiting patients undergoing chemotherapy with weekly support and PICC line flush visits. My role also involves communicating with several other health professionals and working together to deliver person centred care to all patients.
"Every day at work is a day spent together with patients in their journey within our service, “in their shoes” and my role is to make that journey as smooth as possible. I love my job as I can help people and make a difference. I am also able to support members of staff that I work with.
"I moved to the UK in 2009, having previously studied a university degree in IT and programming. Realising that this career path was not for me, I started looking for a job that involved working with people and applied for a job in domiciliary care. Subsequently, I began working in nursing and care homes, and completed NVQ level 2 and level 3 diplomas. After spending 7 years in a caring role, I decided that it was time to look for a role with more opportunity for career progression as I always longed for more knowledge and experience. In 2016 I started in NELFT as a senior health care assistant. Later in the year I had an opportunity to apply for a Trainee Nursing Associate course and my managers were very supportive throughout the duration of the two-year course. It was quite challenging as I was part of the first ever pilot cohort. I qualified in 2019 which coincided with the birth of my daughter late 2018 (you couldn’t make it more complicated if you wanted to! But hey, who doesn’t like a challenge!).
"Upon returning to work, one of my student colleagues highlighted that there was a course available to complete a top up which would enable me to become a qualified nurse. So yet again, not afraid of a challenge I applied for this course. My manager immediately supported me and after successful application I commenced as a student RN in the October 2020 cohort, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. This did make the course a little bit more challenging. However, I am proud and pleased that I qualified as a registered nurse in June 2022."
What do I enjoy most about working in NELFT?
"Its like one big family. You don’t just come in to work to do your job, you have a family at work with people you know, you trust and people who support you in every step of your journey, whether it’s a work or personal matter. This family is always here looking after you and you build such an enormous loyalty and respect as you are valued as an individual and not just another employee number. You are supported to thrive, develop new skills, build your confidence, and progress every step of the way."
What is your advice for anyone thinking of joining NELFT?
"Speak up, ask questions, talk to your peers and managers if you ever need guidance or support. There are always people who will help you and there is always a place where you can find your “home” in the trust. From my own experience (especially from the years as a student and having placements in different areas), NELFT is the place that I do call 'home'”.
"Myth busting - you won’t get to experience hospital nursing in a community setting.
"Community Nursing provides a wealth of experience that would be challenging to acquire in a hospital setting. Community nursing involves several specialists working alongside each other and this provides you with extensive experience. You do not necessarily require hospital experience to work as a nurse in community. Many students choose community as their management placement and remain there after qualification."