Louise knew at an early age that she wanted to make a difference to people’s lives, and that drive led her to fulfil her dreams of becoming a nurse.
In 1993, she began her training at Canterbury Christ Church University and most of her career has been spent working for East Kent Hospitals.
Before joining the stroke team, she worked in various acute wards across the Trust, but it wasn’t until she started working with the Day Hospital multidisciplinary team helping stroke patients that she really began to feel a sense of belonging.
She said: “Having a stroke is often a sudden and life-changing experience for both the patient and their relatives.
“Treating stroke is complex, it’s about more than just medicine, you need a holistic approach. Your heart really needs to be in it. Working in stroke can be complex and challenging, but it is hugely rewarding.”
Having worked on the stroke unit for many years, Louise now has a leadership and strategic role as an Interim Lead Nurse for Stroke.
In this role, she supports the transformation of stroke services across east Kent, improving the patient pathway, workforce development, and quality and governance within the service; Louise is passionate about improving the experience of stroke patients.
She had no idea that a role like hers was even possible when she first started her career.
She said: “When you start your nursing career, you realise that the role of ‘nurse’ is varied and you actually have a vast range of exciting and incredible opportunities. It’s definitely more than just one career.
“My current role is strategic as I am looking at how we shape the future of stroke services. I work closely with a wide range of services and teams to develop the stroke pathway both inside the hospital and after discharge; supporting the stroke multidisciplinary team to make improvements within our service. The most important part of my role is to make sure that patients are at the heart of everything we do.
“We have developed a Stroke Patient Advisory Group where we invite patients and their relatives to work with us to design services, through sharing what is important to them and what makes a difference.
“The group is invaluable, and the feedback we receive varied: one patient has recently told us about how the smell of the ward truly affected their experience. We become so used to our areas of work, sometimes we overlook the simplest things.
“Looking through the patient eyes (or nose!) is essential to understanding patient care and it’s something I really pride myself on.”
Louise has recently been invited to represent Kent and Medway as member of the steering group for the National Stroke Nurse Forum.
She said: “I feel incredibly privileged to be in a position that means I can influence how we deliver our future stroke care. I am proud to work with our EKHUFT stroke team who are truly passionate and committed to making a difference to our stroke patients.”