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Interview with a PR nurse - Nikki Gardiner
28 July 2023

Following the interest in our last Interview with a PR Nurse we’ve sat down with Nikki Gardiner, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Glenfield and Leicester Hospitals Pulmonary Rehabilitation Programme to hear about her experience in the PR field.

The Glenfield and Leicester PR programme was accredited in 2021 following an onsite assessment and have since renewed their accreditation following an annual review.


What inspired you to get into nursing?

That’s a hard question actually! Nursing isn’t something I thought I was ever going to go into – but we had a family member who wasn’t well and lived with us. During that time, the interactions I had with the district nurses inspired me to do a community care course that looked at all aspects of nursing. 

I went to the Leicester Royal Infirmary many many moons ago and I just loved the camaraderie of the nursing team, so it’s been an accumulation of things all together that caused me to give it a go!

Who has particularly inspired you in your journey of being a nurse?

Nursing is an incredible profession, and I have met so many incredible people along the way – too many to mention really! I was very fortunate to be at Leicester, where there were lots of different opportunities for development and training with broad support. Especially being in rehabilitation, the support didn’t just come from other nurses but also from other disciplines such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and exercise physiologists. I have learnt from so many people over the years.

For me, its that common goal you have, to help improve someone’s life, I think really keeps you going! Working in rehab, it’s such as rewarding job, being able to spend that time with someone in an assessment, and go through, from a nursing perspective, quite a holistic approach to reviewing someone and you feel like you are helping them understand what’s wrong and helping someone get back on their feet again!

We hear all the time about wanting to improve quality of life: what types of common goals have you seen in your patients?

Really, goals are so spread and that is part of the beauty of rehabilitation, addressing someone’s individual goals. This might be to get to the toilet in time, to get to the bus stops or to walk to their local shops. You know, small goals, but to them its huge, and has a massive impact on their overall quality of life. Being able to help them to achieve that is very rewarding! You get to see the positive impact you can have on someone’s life, working with your colleagues to improve patient care and quality of life.

How would you encourage others to work in Pulmonary Rehabilitation?

It’s a real privilege to be a nurse and have this longer term follow up with people. When you work on the ward you work with someone for a short space of time, but within rehab it’s a much longer follow-up and you do see people for two to three months. I would explain that to other members of staff; ‘Come in, and really see the difference that we make to people’s lives. I would really encourage nurses to come into pulmonary rehabilitation because I feel there’s so many benefits to patient care that can be provided – and your nursing skills are absolutely valued within this specialist field.

How did you find explaining to other people what you do during the one of 100 celebrations?

That was a great opportunity to showcase what we were doing, on a platform where we’ve been through accreditation, so we were able to be proud of the service and the high standard that we deliver. It was great for people to see there’s somewhere that people can be referred to for support with a respiratory condition, as well as raising awareness and letting staff know.

In your experience, how has nursing changed since you started?

I think we have more autonomy in deciding the skills that we are delivering on, therefore there are many more developed skills in nursing than there has ever been, with more advanced roles in all sorts of disciplines, including respiratory. We also have more recognised professional qualifications, and I think that’s made a difference to the profession and how we’re perceived by the public.

I’d like to see more nurses in pulmonary rehab to really develop that multidisciplinary approach with allied health professionals. Nurses often have a holistic approach, looking at the physical, social, and psychological aspects of someone’s care. I think we have a lot of great differences to bring to the table and we can have a huge impact together for the benefits of patient outcome.

Looking back at your younger self, what advice would you have given yourself whilst going into pulmonary rehabilitation and nursing?

To take your time! Find out where you want to be in terms of your speciality, do lots of different things at the beginning and then when you feel like you’ve found your niche, that’s when you can really go into your specialism. And I’ll put a massive plug out for rehab for being a great place to work because I’ve been here for a long time.

Although I still feel it’s something that’s in me, being a nurse, its more than just having a qualification, its more of a vocation.

Congratulations on your service being accredited since 2021! You’ve now been through an onsite and an annual review; what does the PRSAS accreditation mean to you?

We’ve been through one annual review and are coming up to a second, so it’s still relatively new to us. Due to that, we really wanted to make sure that we had done absolutely everything. We didn’t want to wait for it to come out of the blue, so we’ve been preparing the whole time.

The accreditation programme feels like an incredibly important thing to be a part of! It means a lot to me personally, and to the team it’s just a brilliant feeling that we have been able to showcase our service in a positive way and help maintain those high standards – it’s been a really positive experience.

I also think that it helped raise our profile with the local trust. During the assessment process, we met with our management to discuss our accreditation pathway. Then, on the day of the onsite assessment the assessors meet our CEO and service managers to give feedback – this was really helpful in building a stronger relationship with them.

Is there anyone you like to give a shout-out to?

I work with an incredible team, I am really really proud of people I work alongside, and we all work together with one focus to help people with respiratory disease to have a better quality of life.


Thanks to Nikki Gardiner for taking part in the blog interview; if you are interested in learning more about being involved with the PRSAS programme, click here. To get in touch with the PRSAS office, email 


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