Joanna Milligan works as a healthcare assistant for Advantage Healthcare whilst undertaking a paediatric nursing course at Kings College London.
The 23-year-old, who lives in Shoreham-by-Sea has worked as a Healthcare Assistant for four years before starting the paediatric nursing degree course in September 2017. After working in a nursing home for elderly patients, Joanna moved to a care at home package, where she looked after a boy with cerebral palsy.
In March 2016 she started working for Advantage Healthcare’s South Coast branch and has worked for several paediatric clients. She has cared for a boy with a brain tumour and other children with cerebral palsy.
Joanna explained: “I find working with children with complex care needs is very rewarding. I manage the medical procedures they need and I enjoy seeing them grow and thrive. All the families I’ve been with have been lovely and accommodating. I also appreciate the support of AdvantageHealthcare’s office team and branch nurse.
“Advantage Healthcare has provided specific complex care training in areas such as managing someone having an epileptic episode, feeding procedures and tracheostomy care, so I’ve been constantly learning and increasing my skills.
“As time went on, I realised that I wanted more responsibility and ultimately to become a paediatric nurse. The local branch manager, Sue Knight, has been especially supportive of my career goals and the office have adapted my care timetable so that I can work around my studies.”
Joanna often works Friday and Saturday night shifts. Whilst she has a busy week of practical study, supplemented by reading and coursework, Joanna is also able to work to earn money and gain care experience.
She said: “It’s really good to have baseline in care experience at this stage in my career. It gives me confidence that I’ll become competent in those procedures that initially seem scary. It is interesting to see how quickly the correct medical care can stabilise a child and then how we can help their condition to improve. I enjoy putting the theory we’ve learned into practice.”
“Becoming a paediatric nurse is a very special career, I’ve spent time on an oncology ward with some very sick children. It’s a privilege to spend some time with them and I can see how much it makes their day to have compassionate, expert nursing staff.”
Advantage Healthcare branch manager, Sue Knight said: “I’m delighted that Joanna is following her calling to become a paediatric nurse and that she has chosen to continue working for clients nearby.”