NHS stars: May '24

Meet Florence NHS Star Award winner Mary

Florence star

This May, we’re celebrating Star Award winner Mary, an NHS nurse whose career journey has taken her from a passion for animals to a passion for caring for patients. 

We sat down to chat about Mary’s career journey and what she thinks about Florence…

Please tell us a bit about yourself

I’m a mum of 6. My eldest is 39, and my youngest is 21. I have four girls, two boys, and nine gra

ndchildren. I grew up in Zimbabwe. I’ve been a nurse for 12 years. I specialise in adult gastro, reno, diabetic and endocrine nursing. 

Before nursing, I had quite a different career – I was a wildlife ranger in Zimbabwe. Every day was an adventure!

I came to nursing at a later age. If you are an animal lover, you are generally quite caring, so even though it hadn’t been my life’s plan to be a nurse, the change in work came naturally to me. I decided to do nursing because it is something I can do until I’m much older. I’ve loved it ever since. 

Why do you love nursing?

The patients. I ask for time off, but I miss the patients if I don’t go to work. Even on holiday, I think, ‘Oh, I wish Florence had shifts’ wherever I am. I’d love to do one here and there. I truly love nursing. 

It’s such a satisfying job. Nursing makes you human; it makes you complete. There is nothing as good as caring for others, especially when they are at vulnerable stages of their lives, and you help them recover. I really love my job and miss it when I’m not there. 

Mary Mokosera NHS nurse

Why did you choose to join Florence?

So I can go anywhere and work anytime. I wanted to be a freelancer to work when I wanted to and not be put on a roster. I’ve got choices, but when you are fully employed, there are no choices. There are times when I need to travel home or see family in Ireland. My free time isn’t limited, and I can go and do what I need to. 

You started your career as a wildlife ranger – what’s your favourite memory?

One unforgettable day at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, we received an urgent call about a lone fisherman in a dangerous area during the lion mating season, a time when male lions were especially aggressive. Racing to the scene, we arrived just in time to rescue the fisherman from a lion that had spotted him. Despite his initial hesitation, he joined us in the vehicle as the lion began to chase us. We sped up to 90 miles an hour with the lion in a relentless pursuit for 11 kilometers. Finally, our scouts fired warning shots into the air, scaring off the lion and averting a potential tragedy.

Despite dealing with lions and pythons regularly, it’s the chameleons that truly terrify me. I find them far more unnerving than any of the larger, more dangerous animals!

Since working in nursing, what’s been your favourite part of the job?

Being with patients that’s my favourite. When I get time to spend time with them. It’s manic on the ward, so I wish there was more time. I love the times when you get quality time with them.

I love the elderly patients and the stories they tell. I like it, especially during Christmas time. I get on the bay with the microphone and start singing, and the elderly start joining in. We create a chorus. It’s so beautiful. 

Also, I love being there for elderly dementia patients in the early evenings when they start calling out for loved ones. They call it ‘sundowner’ when this happens. You embrace the patients and tell them it’s time for a cup of tea. Then, sit with them, drink tea together, and they calm down. That’s the only time we eat NHS biscuits! We sit, chat, and relax, and they eventually say I want to sleep. 

I also get a lot of satisfaction from getting through all the work that needs to be done. I am serious about my responsibilities. I’m usually the last person to leave, but I am very particular, and I always do my job to the best of my ability. For example, I make sure my medication records are accurate and check to ensure all patients have had the correct medicine.

What do you wish everyone understood about being an agency nurse?

Although we are called agency nurses, we are nurses just like them. The work I do and you do, there is no difference. 

Also, agency nurses are often very experienced as we have to cover different hospitals; we might go into nursing homes and in various scenarios. In this way, we can bring vast experience and be patient.

Because of the difficult scenarios I’ve had to deal with, I know I can face any situation and any number of patients. I love the challenge. 

What’s been a favourite nursing memory?

When the permanent nursing teams have asked me how to do certain tasks or approach a new scenario. I love being able to give them a brilliant answer and resolve the issue for them! 

Why did you join Florence?

I saw Florence on Google and realised that with Florence, you can pick your own shifts—you pick when you want to work, not the agency. 

What features do you find useful in the Florence app?

The app is easy to use. I can even send my timesheets via the app. 

What do you like most about working with Florence?

I’ve never worked for an agency as brilliant as Florence – the best I have ever worked for.   

The team is very organised and my consultant, Callum, is very supportive. He takes the time to explain things to you. He’s always there, even at weekends and evenings. He sorted out an issue with my pay quickly and efficiently. I’ve never worked with a consultant like him. He’s exceptional. I expect to stay with Florence for a long time because of him. 

I also love Florence because of the vast training. I love that I can pop in anytime and do the free training. You don’t know how much that helps us as nurses.

Thank you from Florence

Thank you, Mary, for being part of our community. We’re thrilled you think Florence is the best agency you have worked for, and we are so happy to award you Star of the Month this May—you deserve it. 

If you’re inspired by Mary and want to join Florence, download our app today to get started with registration. Or, read more about how our care shifts app helps you find the perfect work-life balance, and see the different roles available with Florence.

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