Driving around the Garden of England is a far cry from the streets of south east London, but Ray Supilanas wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
He and partner Izza Ciocon moved home and jobs to join the team in the critical care unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford last summer, and haven’t looked back.
And with a brand new, purpose-built unit due to open later this year they have plenty to look forward to.
Ray said: “The move was very painless and very quick and everyone was very supportive.
“We have an amazing team here, everyone is helpful and so friendly.
“They were so helpful with the transition, and made sure we had everything we needed to learn the different policies and to feel confident in our roles. It couldn’t have been better.”
Although the principles of critical care nursing are the same wherever you work, different units have different equipment and the pair had a month working supernumerary at the bedside to learn how things worked.
They then spent a month working as supernumerary Band 6s, getting to know the team and how the unit is run.
Ray said: “I thought it was going to be awkward to join the team as an outsider but it never felt that way. They have been so welcoming and so supportive. We’ve only been here for a few months but it feels like we’ve been here longer as they’ve been treating us as a part of their team; a part of their family.
“Covid has proved challenging but I think everyone now knows a lot more about how to deal with it and we just carry on. But it definitely helps to have such a good support system with our colleagues, and we have always been grateful for that.
“It is our responsibility to make sure the area we are in charge of is running smoothly, that the patients are safe and that our colleagues feel supported, but it has always been a two-way street and they’ve supported us in settling down into our roles as well.
“We thought we would travel back to London a lot but there is so much to explore in Kent that we haven’t.
“We wanted countryside and we have definitely got that; it’s fantastic to be able to drive around the Garden of England, and the coast is an easy drive too but we can be in London in half an hour if we want to.
“It was daunting to think about moving homes and jobs at the same time but I’m so glad we did.”