Meet Alwyn: Respiratory Nurse Specialist

As part of our NHS 70 celebrations this week we will be proudly sharing a staff story each day to showcase our exceptional colleagues and the lifetime of care we offer!

Today we are introducing you to Alwyn Herbert, a Respiratory Nurse Specialist based at Chapeltown Health Centre.

alwynWho do you care for?

The patients I care for are usually aged 50 and over, however there is no age criteria for accessing our service.

Describe what you do.

I’m currently working on the Virtual Respiratory Ward which is being set up. The ward is designed to help those with Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (COPD) exacerbations avoid being admitted to Hospital and support earlier discharges for those that have been admitted. COPD can be caused by a number of things including smoking and genetics.

I also support the core Respiratory service. This means seeing people at home who have been in hospital for a period of time, we look at their medication and lifestyle factors to try and reduce future exacerbations. We discuss things like exercise, physical and mental wellbeing. We try and help reduce the anxiety that often surrounds having a breathlessness condition whilst reiterating the importance of exercise in disease management.

Breathlessness breeds anxiety and anxiety breeds breathlessness!

How long have you worked for the NHS?

Since 2004, but I have worked with Leeds Community Healthcare since 2006.

What do you enjoy most about working for the NHS?

That it is the NHS! It means a huge amount to me.

I’ve met some great people working here, both staff and patients. The NHS is probably the best thing we have in this country, it’s something to be proud of.

I’ve never had a single Monday where I woke up and didn’t want to go to work. I’ve never come back from holiday and thought: ‘I don’t want to be here’.

Describe your proudest moment.

Going to see people for the first time and finding them in trouble but being able to sort things out in a safe way.

I met one elderly lady who was very, very ill. After talking with her doctor, we came up with a plan that would help her stay at home. This meant she didn’t have to suffer the distress of going into hospital, it also meant her husband felt supported as he was her main carer.