Before undergoing a major operation to straighten her spine Samantha Heeney hated hospitals that much she felt sick just walking into one.
But, following her spinal deformity operation at The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, in 2017, the 20-year-old from Leyburn has been inspired to train as nurse.
“The care I received at James Cook is 100% what inspired me to become a nurse,” she said. “I remember I was already looking at healthcare courses during the car journey home post op. The paediatric intensive care unit and ward 22 gave me an amazing patient experience and I wanted to pass the same level of compassion onto other people.”
As well as inspiring her to join the NHS, Samantha, who is going into her second year of training, said the procedure helped her both mentally and physically.
“There was an obvious deformity so I used to wear baggy clothes that covered my body and back brace, but now my self-image has improved drastically and I’m confident enough to wear whatever I like due to being nice and straight. It’s taught me a lot about resilience and made me a much more grateful person too.”
During her training Samantha was placed on a spinal ward at another hospital. “Helping patients undergoing the same surgery that I did has been amazing,” she added. “Being able to tell children and their parents that everything really will be ok is such a blessing.”