NEAS celebrates International Nurses Day 2024

12th May 2024

From working in our emergency operations centres as senior clinical advisors and advanced practitioners, to supporting our crews wellbeing and careers in occupational health, nurses provide a crucial and important role within our service.

NEAS chief executive, Helen Ray, began her NHS career in nursing in 1983 as a nursing student at North Tees School of Nursing. Since then, she has had an incredible career working clinically in theatres, on spinal injuries, and orthopaedic trauma and electives, as well as becoming a sister, matron, and speciality lead.

As she moved into her managerial career, Helen maintained her registration for many years working bank shifts and taking a support role in developing nursing with nursing leaders in the region before finally hanging up her scrubs.

Celebrating the importance of recognising the hard work nurses do across the region, she said: “At NEAS our nursing colleagues provide a richness of support across advanced practice working seamlessly with our paramedics, medics and other clinical staff groups.

“I really do believe that there is more scope for enhanced nursing as part of our clinical workforce given the changing demographic of our callers and, in particular the aging population."

As part of our celebrations, we spoke to some of our nurses about their careers in the NHS and NEAS.

Clare, head of IUC and CAS


Clare has been part of the NHS for an incredible 40 years this year and began her nursing training back in 1984 – qualifying as a registered nurse in 1988.

Since then, Clare has had a phenomenal career in nursing, and joined our service in 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic began - initially on secondment from Northumbria Healthcare before joining us permanently.

She said: “As a registered nurse, I enjoy managing an area where both nurses and paramedics work alongside each other. The CAS is an area where we are able to attract nurses to work for an ambulance service and where the team have been so successful in recruiting nurses into both advanced practitioner and senior clinical advisor roles.

“I feel that nurses can offer a different perspective at times to paramedic colleagues, which enables us both to learn and bounce ideas off each other. It provides us with a more diverse workforce with different knowledge and skills, which is needed in the CAS given the various conditions we deal with on a daily basis.”

Karen, Macmillan end-of-life facilitator


Karen began her nursing career in 1994 working in surgery, specialising in maxilla facial before moving to medicine and oncology.

In oncology is where Karen found her passion for caring for the very poorly and she worked throughout the department and became a lymphoedema specialist nurse and then a uro-oncology nurse specialist.

From there, she became a palliative care nurse specialist in 2007 and found her home in nursing caring for patients who required end-of-life care.

On joining NEAS as a nurse, Karen said: “It was an exciting opportunity to work for an ambulance service and to look at the challenges our service has by bringing my many years of experience of palliative and end-of-life care to the Trust.

“We only get one chance to get it right for palliative end-of-life care patients, particularly the dying patient. Through education across the various roles within NEAS and engaging with our partner agencies and service users, we can look to improve care and outcomes for our patients, their families and carers, as well as supporting our staff.”

Rachel, assistant director of quality & safety

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Rachel has been a registered learning disabilities nurse for 24 years.

I have always been eager to learn new skills and advance my career, and before coming to NEAS I have worked for a range of NHS Providers across the North East including community services, primary care, acute care, and commissioning.

“My passion has always been in relation to patients and their families and ensuring that they receive the best quality care. I chose to come and work at NEAS as I have a strong commitment in ensuring that the needs of the population with which we serve have the highest quality of care and professional service.”

Josie, operations manager – advanced practice and CAS


Josie joined our service as part of the advanced practice team in 2020 during the first COVID lockdown, having relocated from the Scottish Highlands where she worked as an advanced nurse practitioner. In 2023 she stepped up as an operations manager.

Our advanced practitioner team has an incredibly important role in our service. As Josie states, “having the ability to ensure our patients receive the right treatment at the right time is of huge benefit to them. Advanced practice offers staff the ability to see (or hear), treat, and discharge a patient without the need for further intervention or hospital admission.

“This is a really satisfying part of the job and ensuring the delivery of high standards of care, in whatever arena, is really important to me.”

Tracy, deputy director for quality & safety and lead nurse


Tracy joined the service because she wanted a role that allowed her to influence change and make a difference for patients and colleagues.

She said: “I oversee our quality and safety governance to ensure good quality patient care. Patient safety, patient experience, health and safety, safer care, security and violence prevention reduction, coronial and liability services, safeguarding, IPC and CQC compliance all sit within our portfolio. 

“My role involves ensuring we are working within national and local policies and guidelines to keep our patients and colleagues safe. I work closely with clinical, operational and support service teams to identify areas of good practice and improvement. “

Lyndsay, senior clinical advisor


Lyndsay’s career in the NHS began in 2014 when she worked as a bank maternity care assistant at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. She then attended the University of East Anglia from 2014-17 where she qualified as a nurse. Since then she has worked in community, intensive care, and emergency department nursing before joining NEAS.

She said: “I chose to work for NEAS as I wanted a role where no two days were the same. Through my role, I have been able to develop my clinical knowledge to be able to provide patient-centred care from a wide-range of clinical specialties.

“The role also fits around my family life, and I have been given the opportunity to complete CPD to progress within my career at NEAS.

“The nurses here at NEAS benefit patients as we can provide advice and support to patients directly. We’re able to assess patients based on their clinical needs and signpost them to relevant services, as well as offering our own advice and guidance to those that need us most.”