Rebecca's journey to becoming a pulmonary hypertension nurse

During Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes series two, we’re shining a spotlight on the inspiring staff across the hospital who help children get better and fulfil their potential. Clinical Nurse Specialist Rebecca Turquet cares for little hero Lucy, who features on episode six. Here Rebecca tells us about her role as a nurse in the Pulmonary Hypertension team, and her career journey so far. 

There are so many different ways your nursing career can go. There will always be something different and new to do. Putting a smile on a very sick child’s face is more rewarding than anything.” 

A big career shift 

“I came to nursing a bit later in life after I had a complete career change. I started in fashion, promotion and media, and then I worked in PR and as stylist and costume designer. It was a massive shift, but it just didn’t seem to fit my life anymore. 

“I felt I wanted to do something a bit more rewarding. My mum had been in the Red Cross, and my grandmother and sister were both nurses. I was attracted to working with children and had an interest in childhood development. 

“As soon as I was offered the opportunity, I took the chance and haven’t looked back. I trained at GOSH from 2004-2007 before working on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU). I then left the Trust to work in the community but returned in January 2015 to work with the Pulmonary Hypertension team. “ 

About the Pulmonary hypertension service 

“We are a national service, coordinating the care for approximately 400 patients across the UK. We have outreach clinics at eight centres up and down the country, as well as a weekly outpatient’s clinic here at GOSH. 

“The reason I was drawn to Pulmonary Hypertension is because it was offered at GOSH, but it is a national service and covers whole of UK, so is quite a diverse job. It’s also highly specialised. 

“Pulmonary hypertension is a progressive life-limiting disease. I would say my main job is to ensure young people stay out of hospital and have best quality of life they can. But no two days are the same. I could be in clinic at GOSH or at one of our eight centres across UK. In an average week, I go into schools to provide training around medication, or I could be training parents whose child just started on IV medication. It’s also about making sure families have good community support so they don’t have to come to hospital all the time. 

Life at GOSH 

“Working at GOSH makes you feel like you are part of something special. GOSH has a really amazing energy about it. Wherever you go in the hospital there is always someone who gives you a smile and says hello. It is a huge privilege to work with the children and families who never cease to amaze me with their courage and their will to embrace life.” 

And Rebecca’s words of wisdom for the future generation of nurses? 

“It’s never dull! And it’s always changing – there are so many different ways your nursing career can go. There will always be something different and new to do. Putting a smile on a very sick child’s face is more rewarding than anything.” 

Caring for Lucy 

Rebecca is the Clinical Nurse Specialist for patient Lucy, who appears in Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes. “Lucy has post-operative Pulmonary Hypertension following heart surgery as a baby. She's currently on our most complex therapy; a 24 hour a day and 7 day a week infusion that cannot be stopped,” Rebecca explains. 

“Initially, when we started the therapy, the family were here for two weeks to be trained in the preparation and administration of the medication – which is carried out by the nursing team. 

“Following discharge, we would visit them at home, visit their local teams and carry out nursery/school training to enable Lucy to get back to nursery as soon as possible. 

“Lucy is always a joy to see in clinic because of her enthusiasm for life and she always has a smile and a hug ready and waiting for me. 

“I think it is so important for us to be involved in filming like Paul O’Grady’s Little Heroes to raise the profile of pulmonary hypertension – because the more awareness out there, the better.”