A student nurse who underwent a major operation to straighten her spine at The James Cook University Hospital has returned to the Middlesbrough hospital to train alongside those who cared for her.
Samantha Heeney from Leyburn hated hospitals that much as a child she felt sick walking into one.
But, after her major spinal deformity operation, when she was 17 years old, her fears vanished and she was inspired by the care she received to join the NHS.
Nearly five years later…
Samantha has returned to the exact wards she was a patient on to train alongside those who inspired her to become a paediatric nurse.
During her placement she has carried out a number of different duties and has been able to watch staff perform the same procedure she had as a child.
She said: “It’s weird being back in the exact same rooms I was in before, it’s very full circle, but it’s nice to be back.
“It’s nice to see all the nurses in ICU and on the ward and recognising some of the faces while helping other children who are going through what I did.
I’ve been able to answer any questions they’ve had and give them an insight that no one else can do which can be very reassuring for them."Samantha Heeney
“I’ve learnt a lot from being in critical care as I’ve never had that experience; it’s nice for me to do extra learning while I’m trying to teach a bit to the patients.
“I’m super interested in spinal, it’s nice to have a glimpse into the future, I just want to be a nurse and give the level of care I had here.
Cheryl Honeyman, specialist nurse in paediatric spine and pectus disorders, is one of team who cared for Samantha when she was a patient.
She said: “It’s brilliant to have Sam back and to catch-up. It’s really lovely to see how well she’s done considering where she came from; I still remember that frightened little girl we saw back then, she was one of the most nervous patients.
“Sam is going to be an incredible paediatric nurse once she qualifies. She’s doing really well and everyone is extremely impressed with her.
“I received an email days after she joined us from a colleague who said that Sam is an inspiration and that it was lovely it was to have her in theatres.
“It’s great to see her using her experience to help others, patients can really relate to her.”