Gemma Shivers

Staff Nurse @ Northern Health & Social Care Trust


Employee Image - Gemma Shivers

Gemma is a staff nurse, her job involves caring for patients who have stage 5 renal disease.

Hi Gemma, Can you tell us about your job and what you do from day to day

My job involves delivering haemodialysis treatment to patients who have stage 5 renal disease. This treatment is delivered within the renal unit where patients usually attend three times weekly for four hours. Haemodialysis replaces the normal function of the kidneys in those patients who kidneys are failing, to the extent where they can no longer support normal life.

What experience/education is required in order to perform this role?

I qualified as a general nurse in 2012 from University of Ulster Magee. I wanted to further my career and seen an opportunity to work as a renal nurse in March 2015. After a successful interview I started working in the renal unit, this gave me the fantastic opportunity to partake in a renal course delivered by Queens University Belfast. This course furthered my knowledge and I gained valuable experience which could be used to ensure optimal care is delivered to patients within the unit.

What is the biggest challenge in your role?

Both chronic and acute patients need supported throughout their treatment. Renal failure is a long term disease and nurses get to know patients for many years. Therefore, it is important to be able to empathise with patients and build a therapeutic relationship. Unfortunately this can prove difficult for nurses during sensitive times in a patient’s life.

What advice would you give to others looking for a job in your field?

I would recommend nursing to anyone who has a passion to help those in need. Renal Nursing is a challenging but very rewarding job. It is ideal for those who have an interest in renal failure and want to develop their knowledge further.

What do you like best about your role and working in HSC?

Working within HSC is not only rewarding but it is also reassuring to have a secure full time permanent job. HSC offers opportunities to develop your knowledge and develop your career.