Meet Florence NHS Star Award winner Iola [March ’24]

This March, we’re celebrating Star Award winner Iola, an NHS nurse who has switched from the army to children’s community nursing.

We sat down to chat about Iola’s career journey and her experience with Florence…

1. How long have you been in healthcare?

I’ve always worked in the medical field. My father was an ODP, so I’ve always been in that world and loved the idea of helping people.

In my early career, I was in the Navy as a medical assistant; I looked after the ship’s crew by providing first aid and basic medical support. I always wanted a qualification and to be able to do more, so after a tour to Afghanistan, I decided to get my nursing degree. I’ve been an NHS nurse for 7 years now.

2. Why did you decide to join Florence?

I joined Florence last October. Previously, I was a full-time adult nurse in the NHS. I then had a baby and my husband is in the army and away a lot. So, I made a decision to go into agency work full-time to work around childcare.

I initially worked with another agency, but they struggled to get shifts, I changed to Florence as I was first attracted by the app making it easier to manage shifts. I’ve also found that I get more shifts with Florence, so now I only use Florence.

3. What kind of nursing do you do?

I’m actually an adult nurse, but since joining Florence I have put my skills to use supporting a children’s community team on a block booking basis. I carry out annual assessments for children with complex needs e.g. their sleep, eating habits, schooling, medical history etc. All about the child. I go to their parents’ homes to carry this out. I’m really enjoying the work and the challenge of making a change. The work also now fits perfectly around my life

3. What do you like most about working with Florence?

The app makes life a lot easier compared to other agencies; you can just look on the app to see what shifts are available. The team, and my consultant Marcin, have been a great support too.

4. What other features do you find useful in the Florence app?

As I say, it’s really user-friendly: being able to upload documents directly to the app during onboarding; all the induction training was easy to do as it’s all packaged up in one place; you don’t have the back-and-forth emails or loads of what’s app trails as you do with other agencies. It’s all in one app, so you can easily keep track.

5. What advice would you give care professionals considering joining Florence?

Definitely do it. It’s a great experience. Easy to join and easy to get shifts. I’ve been with a couple of other agencies before and Florence has been the best.

6. What would you say to those considering a career in nursing?

It’s still a really great job to do. There are pressures like most jobs, but there is so much scope and opportunity as you are constantly learning and growing. I also love that I get to meet so many interesting people.

7. What’s the one thing you wish everyone understood about being a nurse?

Because it’s a caring job, it’s not a job you can leave at work. You take emotions and events home with you. You are involved in intimate aspects of people’s lives. But it’s because of that it’s also very rewarding.

8. Tell us a story of where you felt you made a difference.

I find that I am constantly able to make a difference in families’ lives – even if it’s in small but impactful ways. For example, just last week, I went to visit a family with a child with complex care needs. The mother in particular, was suffering from a lot of stress. I spent most of the visit just listening to Mum and her being able to offload. It wasn’t huge things that needed doing, more a list of small things. I went away with a list of things I could do to help and called the next day with some solutions. She thanked me and said it’s the little things that make a big difference.

I really enjoy being able to help in this way and get a lot of positive feedback from families and colleagues.

“Lola is a great nurse. It is a pleasure to work with her and she is great at supporting our children.”

A Griffiths, Birmingham Community Trust.

Thank you, Iola for being part of our community. We’re thrilled the team at Florence has been a support to you, and are so happy to award you NHS Star of the Month this March – you deserve it.

If you’re inspired by Iola and want to join Florence, sign up today.

You may also be interested in:

– Meet Florence Star Award winner (care assistant) Brian – March ’24

Meet Florence Star Award winner Joyce (nurse) – Feb ’24

– Meet Gresham Florence Star Award winner Beatrice (nurse) – Oct ‘ 23

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