Sharon Piper has been a Clinical Nurse Specialist at Portsmouth Enablement Centre at St Mary’s Treatment Centre for four years, after previously working within a community nursing team covering Havant and Emsworth. Sharon, 51, lives in Cosham with her husband Jeff and step-sons Callum and Connor, and is sharing her story, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, about her important role within the Centre alongside veterans.
The Portsmouth Enablement Centre provides a regional prosthetic service to people living in Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and some areas of West Sussex, and is one of nine enhanced Veterans Care Centres in the UK providing specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation services for veterans whose amputation is attributed to their military service.
Sharon undertook her nurse training in Portsmouth and is the only Nurse Specialist at the Centre, holding a strong interest in wound care. Working alongside other members of the multidisciplinary team, Sharon supports patients following an amputation.
Sharon says: “I work with any patient that comes through the door, including veterans…I mainly see patients if they’ve got wounds that need attending to.”
Sharon’s role is vital within the early stages for amputee patients, and the support that she offers is an invaluable input into their rehabilitation journey.
Sharon explains: “I lead on patients who have below knee amputations, during their first visit to the Enablement Centre. I also support consultants in their meetings with patients, and I visit Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) to see patients who have just undergone their amputation.
“I’m here to tell these patients all about the Enablement Centre and to let them know that there is support out there. I think that’s quite a hard period when they’ve first had the amputation. It can be a scary time.”
The best part of the role for Sharon is watching the ongoing progress made by her patients.
Sharon says: “I see patients nine months down the line after their prosthetic rehabilitation. That’s lovely because you get to see them when they first come in to the room in a wheelchair, and then normally for their review later on they usually come walking in, so you get to see how it’s progressed and how well it all went.”
Not only does Sharon enjoy working with her veterans and NHS patients, she also appreciates the team working together to help patients every day within the centre, and the results that go hand in hand with this.
Sharon says: “I enjoy the fact that there is a very good team approach here. I like following the patient through their journey from when they first have the amputation to their nine month or 24-month review and seeing them getting on with their lives. It is such a life changing experience so it’s nice to see their life improve as they get back to normality and start doing the things they used to do.”
With the 75th Anniversary of D-Day taking place this year, Sharon feels thankful to the servicemen who bravely sacrificed their lives. She says: “You just can’t imagine what they went through, being in that position. I feel grateful.”