Meeting Senior Nurse Dani

Nursing has to be one of the most varied careers in existence: where and how nurses choose to practice their skills is only limited by their imagination.

A shining example of this is the London Vision Clinic´s senior nurse, Dani Barrett. Her professional qualifications have taken her from the tiny Australian outback village of Emu Creek to London’s Harley Street via a journey that would even make ER scriptwriters question the story line as being too far-fetched.

Nursing was something of a last minute career choice for Dani and, after having made up her mind and been accepted by a nearby university in the town of Bendigo, she was somewhat surprised to discover that her mother had also decided to become a mature nursing student on the same course and at the same university. Both mother and daughter graduated together before Dani began her career as a midwife in Melbourne.

She quickly got over the horrors of witnessing her first birth (“I thought I would never have sex again!” she jokes) and concentrated on post-natal care and breast feeding. A busy orthopaedic department came next and then to a high trauma unit of A and E – this is where patients with life threatening injuries are taken and clearly an area of medicine requiring a cool head.

“I treated patients who had been in car crashes or farming accidents –people who had maybe had an implement fall on them and crush their chest; or burns victims”, Dani explains.

“These people would be in a critical condition and, although it was stressful, I tried not to think about the human tragedy unfolding in front of me and just concentrate on doing my job which was usually emergency first aid and assessment.”

Among the most difficult moments, Dani recalls, was working on critically injured young car crash victims and knowing that their anxious parents were waiting for news.

Crucial decisions –like whether or not limbs would have to be amputated – had to be made on the spot – as did pain management for those who were still conscious; while Dani was also called upon to perform life-saving triage procedures like CPR, drilling a hole in the brain to allow haemorrhaging fluids escape and tracheotomies.

Clearly this job was not for the faint-hearted.

Dani’s next step was to move to the UK two-and-a-half years ago. In London she joined a nursing agency which, in addition to “normal” nursing positions, also offered her the dream opportunity of accompanying a little girl, with type 1 diabetes, and her parents on a trip to America.

“I had my own suite at the Four Seasons in LA and also enjoyed two trips to Disneyland – it really was a dream job for the weeks that it lasted.”

On her return to London, Dani heard about an opening at the London Vision Clinic and decided to apply for the job. The rest – as they say – is history.