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Alana Debnam

Alana Debnam

Children's A&E nurse, William Harvey Hospital

 Alana always wanted to help others, so nursing seemed like the obvious choice for her.

After training in London, including a placement at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, she moved to Kent to develop her skills and gain more experience.

She said: “Great Ormond Street was fantastic and you would see some really interesting cases.

“Kids were often in hospital for a long time, which meant that the team and I could build great relationships with them, but it was frustrating that we couldn’t help them faster.

“But it was so specialist that I never saw a child having an asthma attack, or any of the more common issues, and I wanted to try something new.”

As part of her quest for adventure, and inspired by her matron at GOSH, Alana spent a month in Uganda looking after children and teaching the community about healthcare.

She said: “The contrast in hospitals was huge. I went from a hospital that had all of the resources and technical equipment to one where rubber gloves were used to hang IV drips.”

Her role in the emergency department at William Harvey Hospital offers a new challenge, but it’s a dream job for Alana.

She said: “I love working in A&E because it’s fast-paced and kids come in for so many different reasons.

“Sometimes children have very complex cases and we need to work as a team to quickly problem solve and save a child’s life.

“It can be challenging but very rewarding. I always give each child 110% - anything less would be letting them down.”

The role also involves looking after the families, and individual staff can play a huge part in reassuring and comforting parents.

Alana said: “I try and divide my time between the children and the parents. Although a child’s health is my priority, it is important that the parents feel like I have helped.

“We have to let the parents know what is going on because there is nothing worse than seeing 20 people around your child and not knowing what they are doing.

“They will remember my face; and I want them to know that I’ve done everything I can possibly do for their child.”

Alana’s hard work is paying off and she is now a practice supervisor, mentoring student nurses to help them reach their full potential.

She said: “I really enjoy teaching and I’d like to do more of it as my career develops, but my real passion is helping sick children get better.

“You don’t have to be the most academic but you need to know how to comfort someone when they need it.”

To read more about Alana’s trip to Uganda, click here https://www.ekhuft.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/news-centre/latest-news/alanas-african-adventure-will-help-save-lives/
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