Published on 31 July 2020
A mum who put the brakes on her nursing career to spend more time with her family is back in the medical fast lane after helping out on an intensive care unit during the coronavirus pandemic.
Yvonne Mercer switched to driving instruction in 2017 after a 12-year career with East Kent Hospitals.
But she volunteered to rejoin her colleagues looking after critically ill patients at the height of the pandemic – and is now on track for a permanent role that will run alongside her driving lessons.
The 48-year-old mum of two, from Herne Bay, said: “The two are actually not that different – as a driving instructor I am often a bit of a counsellor too, especially for the younger pupils or people who are really nervous.
“You have to have a calm demeanour for both jobs and not let things get to you, and good communication is also really important so you can pitch information at the right level.
“I use a lot of the skills I need for nursing when I am teaching people how to drive.”
Yvonne was a sister in intensive care at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital when she decided to park her nursing career.
But the decision to return was easy – even though she knew it would not be a smooth ride.
She said: “I knew how busy my colleagues were, and I knew I still had the skills to help out, so I joined the temporary register and went back.
“A few bits and pieces had changed but the care and the teamwork was still the same.
“The family atmosphere you get working in intensive care never changes. Everyone was so welcoming and it was lovely to be back.
“There were difficult times, and it’s tough working in PPE in the heat, but we get through it together and look after each other.”