Meet Alex Blincow (Squires, 2011)
Alex Blincow left Ashford School in 2011, and went on to study Nursing at the University of Hull. She is now a Senior Staff Nurse at Conquest Hospital in Hastings. We spoke to Alex to find out more about how the current outbreak has affected her role, but also of her memories of her time at Ashford School.
How has the Coronavirus outbreak directly affected your job? What has been the most challenging part of the process for you so far?
- I currently work as a Sister on the Macdonald Ward at Conquest Hospital in Hastings. The ward I work on is usually a medical elderly ward looking after patients over 75 for a variety of conditions. During this pandemic, our ward has been turned into an end of life care ward for both COVID and non-COVID patients. We must always wear surgical masks, and I have been responsible for fitting ward staff with these special masks to ensure they are safe when looking after COVID patients. Recently we have been able to return to being purely a medical elderly ward. There have been many updates and changes throughout this period, and communication has been key to ensure safety for both patients and staff. Communicating with relatives has also been vital as we are currently operating restricted visiting hours. We have many patients that are discharged with care at home or to a care home and during this time we must make sure that is done safely.
How are you looking after your wellbeing during this time and that of your family?
- My partner has been very supportive and understanding throughout this time. We were due to get married at the end of May, and unfortunately have had to postpone, so we have spent some time reorganising. I have been enjoying weekly quizzes with my parents and sister, (Helena who is also an Ashford School alumni), to break up the time and catch up with them, as well as skyping with my Grandma.
What positives do you think you will take away from this experience?
- One positive that I will remember from this experience has been the support shown from the public. Wehave had donations of hand cream that have come in very useful and the ‘Clap for the NHS’ has been very uplifting. This period has shown us how important the NHS is and that we must continue to protect it after this pandemic is over. The whole experience has also enabled myself and my work colleagues to come together as a team on the ward and support each other – we have definitely grown closer.
How do you think your time at Ashford School impacted you? Do you think there are lessons from your time at school that are helping you now? Is there a particular moment or person that inspired you and helped you be the person you are today?
- My time at Ashford School gave me the confidence to pursue a career in Nursing and provided support to help me achieve this. Being involved in drama and the school musicals helped me develop my confidence. Studying for my GCSEs and A-levels helped me learn to adapt to change and be solution-orientated. I also remember fondly the numerous house competitions and all the extra–curricular activities such as speech and drama, tennis and singing lessons. One of my favourite teachers was Mr. Stoddard who was our Squires House form tutor and always made registration fun. Mrs. Dengate, my Speech & Drama teacher, helped me develop my confidence and was very engaging in lessons. Achieving success in my A-level exams made me appreciate what I had achieved since starting at Ashford School and how I had made friends for life.
What made you choose your current career path?
- Growing up I had to go for yearly health checks at the Conquest Hospital, and the nurse that looked after me was amazing. Mr. Turner, my Biology teacher at Ashford School, ignited my interest in human anatomy and biology, always being happy to take time explaining topics. These two things combined inspired me to pursue a career in Nursing. I now walk past the children’s outpatient department that I visited as a child on my way in to work!
What would you say to our current students?
- It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do after school and make the most of your time at School. Be kind, you never know what someone else is going through. And, finally, always wash your hands!