To celebrate International Nurses Day, we spoke to Daliya and Sheeba about their experience of working at Harefield Hospital’s world class transplant unit. 

Daliya Thomas

“I’m a practice educator on the transplant unit and have been working on the transplant unit since 2008.

“I qualified in India a long time ago were I worked as a specialist nurse in renal dialysis, then I got to work in renal transplants. Since then, I have loved working in transplant departments. 

 “I didn’t want to become a nurse when I was young, but after I got in an accident travelling with my mum, I changed my mind. We were taken to hospital where we spent three nights. I was impressed by how caring the nurses were, so I was inspired to try nursing.

 “My role is to educate nurses who are new to the transplant unit. However, I’m not always office based, I am also out there talking to patients every day.

“Once a patient of mine visited years after a stay in ITU. She told me: “You know, I always have a funny memory about you”. It turned out while I was heavily pregnant, she hallucinated that I was a Teletubby coming to administer her regular injection. She told me: “I still remember those days,” and then bought a Teletubby toy to give to my daughter. Even though she has passed away the memories she gave me are still with me, and I'm still telling this story to my daughter. 

I get to care for patients at each step of their patient journey. We see them coming for transplant assessment, we see them very sick, and we also get to see them go home without oxygen and walking by themselves without help. This is the most rewarding part of my job.

Sheeba Joseph

“I am a ward sister and I have been working for the hospital for 18 years. 

“I have always been interested in cardiology so when I heard Harefield was a heart and lung centre, I was motivated to apply there. I have worked in the transplant unit ever since and I love it. 

The most wonderful thing about working at Harefield is that you know everyone, and everyone knows you. Also, I really love getting to know our long stay patients.

“Some patients you remember forever. One of my patients had heart failure and was receiving palliative care. One day he asked if it was possible to spend some time with his daughters in his room without his medical team popping in and out. He wanted his daughters, especially the older one, not to see him as a patient or as an ill person, but to remember him as her hero. I helped to make this happen for him. His daughters stayed with him and played the whole day, undisturbed. I was so happy that I could do that for their family.

“Recently, the Charity funded our Transplant Care Trolley project for which we're getting really good feedback from the staff and patients. Long term patients don't have access to many things compared to when they are in their home environment. While some patients can rely on family to bring them essentials, all of our patients now can have access to their favourite snacks, some body wash, sanitary products, colouring books or even quizzes.

“It’s accessible and provides some comfort for our patients. For example, the shampoos and the toiletries on the trolley makes a difference to the patient experience at the hospital. Everybody gets washed with the same standard antiseptic wash available in most hospitals, but when they have a wash with a nice smelling body wash it creates a different environment for them. It makes a big difference.”

Each year, we allocate £100,000 to staff led projects, like the Transplant Care Trolley, which make our patients’ experience at Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals more comfortable.

Learn more about the Patients’ Fund