Working in research: The career of an ophthalmology nurse
Dhannie Ramcharan is Lead Ophthalmology Nurse Specialist at Central Middlesex Hospital.
What is your career background?
I trained at the Brent and Harrow School of Nursing, based at Central Middlesex Hospital. My nurse training was old school, meaning many bedpans passed through my hand.
After three years of training I started my first nursing job on the Gynaecology Ward at Central Middlesex Hospital. I then worked my way through the ranks in many surgical specialities. But I love working in Ophthalmology and have truly found my niche.
I'm also a trainer with the Royal College of Ophthalmology. This means I’m certified to train and sign off junior doctors in the skills that I practice.
What inspired you to work in research?
I've always been interested in research because we want to give our patients the best we can. We can provide the most recent treatments which may not be affordable otherwise.
It was Christiana Dinah, the Research and Macular Service Lead, who first inspired us to do the research. And now we can give our patients the best drugs before anybody else.
What skills are needed in your career?
You need to love what you do. You have to want to be a good nurse and do the best for your patients.
You need good people skills too. Personality wise, you need to be somebody who is honest and has a good relationship with patients and colleagues.
But in terms of academic qualifications, you need to be on the top of your game. A lot of patients don't recognise that a nurse’s role has moved on from what it was before. Now we need a lot of complex skills. You have to be willing to continuously update your skills and be aware of all new techniques.
You also need to be willing to audit yourself, be very motivated with your career and want to do your best.
What do you like most about your job?
I love looking after my patients. I love seeing them, I love treating them. When they come in they can be very worried because it’s their eyes. It’s very satisfying to have the knowledge to say what’s wrong and to reassure them by telling them what we can do.
Building a good rapport and trusting relationship between patients and myself is very important to me.
What is your career highlight?
My proudest achievement was the day I received my nurse pin number and started working at Central Middlesex Hospital. But more recently I’d say being shortlisted for the Trust’s annual Excellence in Research and Development Award.
Why do you think getting involved in research is important?
It gives me a great buzz. I feel like I'm on the top of my game because I’m giving my patients the best treatments available. But also I’m first initiating the treatments that will be used by my colleagues in the future.
What do you see in the future for research?
It’s a very bright future for us. We started off as a very small team but within a year we've taken on six different trials. So this is only going to grow. And as we continue to do the research our department is getting acknowledged nationally.
I think research, especially in ophthalmology, is going to put this hospital on the map. I think we are going to be the greatest of all time in terms of research for the Trust. We want to give patients the most up to date treatment and care available.