Charity Number: 279652


12 May 2020

We currently have a team of 6 nurses at DDRC Healthcare, bringing different skills to the team. These include intensive care, tissue viability and emergency skills, not to mention knowledge and experience in hyperbaric medicine. Most of our nurses also work in clinical areas other than hyperbaric medicine alongside their role with us and this supports the team in a variety of ways. They all share some things in common though, the drive to provide high quality holistic care and the ability to be adaptable and perform daily nursing tasks in a somewhat unusual environment.

Hyperbaric nursing is a highly specialised role, one that involves caring for a variety of patient groups. It is necessary to study physics, to understand the workings of the hyperbaric chamber, and to learn the unique qualities and effect of oxygen under pressurised conditions. Becoming a ‘specialist’ in the area includes completing a European or American exam after working a specified number of hours in a hyperbaric centre. Troubleshooting clinical problems often involves liaising with nurses in other areas of the country and even across the world.

We would like to take this opportunity to share some information about a couple of our nurses, where they started out and how they came to be at DDRC Healthcare.

Ali Bishop

Ali has worked at DDRC Healthcare for 15 years having joined the team after leaving the Royal Navy. Swapping a uniform that would have made Florence Nightingale proud for tunic and trousers was certainly a change, although the Royal Navy have now modernised their standard nursing attire.

Ali’s first role as a surgical ward nurse was with the Royal Navy here in Plymouth almost twenty years ago. From there she moved to intensive care and did some practice nursing and administration roles.

Since coming to DDRC Healthcare, Ali has completed a Masters degree in wound healing and tissue repair and she is an Honorary Lecturer for the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, as well as occasionally working with the local intensive care unit and hospital tissue viability teams. 

Jo Small

After completing an NNEB diploma and working as a nanny for a year. I decided to further develop my career and chose to go into nursing. I had enjoyed caring for children as a Nanny but caring for sick children in hospital I felt I would find particularly challenging therefore I decided to pursue the adult nursing route which would allow me a greater variety of opportunities.

After qualifying I worked for 6 months  as a Registered nurse on a trauma and orthopaedics ward before moving to Plymouth and completing a surgical rotation post which allowed me to explore the different surgical specialities.

I worked on a surgical ward for 10 years and gained a wealth of experience. I loved the variety that surgical nursing brought and that no day was the same and although there were hard days these were outnumbered by the rewarding days. Whatever the shift involved there was always a great deal of support from the brilliant team that I worked with.

One aspect of my job which I particularly enjoyed was wound care. Although mostly caring for patients with surgical wounds, I had also had experience in caring for patients with leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers. I enjoyed learning from the tissue viability nurses who visited the ward to see patients with these chronic wounds and assisting them with the wound care.

I had heard via a friend of a position available at the Hyperbaric Medical Centre, I knew about the centre as some of my patients had attended for daily hyperbarics from the ward. I decided to find out more information about the post and  decided to apply…..10 years later and I continue to work as a Hyperbaric nurse.

The pace of work is very different to working on a busy surgical ward and what I love is that I have the time to spend with patients, to be able to listen and feel that I am making a difference. My knowledge and interest in wound care has grown and also in addition to this my knowledge has expanded on the different conditions that hyperbaric oxygen therapy treats.

Ali and Jo are tissue viability nurses working in the DDRC Wound Care department