A Nottingham man was inspired to leave his retail job and become a nurse after his own twins were born prematurely.
Paul Farmer, 42, is Ward Manager at the Neonatal Unit at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) where his own twins were cared for 15 years ago.
He cites the care of the team there as the push he needed to leave his full-time job and pursuit a medical career.
He said: “When I saw the brilliant work the staff on the Neonatal Unit did, it inspired me to become a nurse.
“From the day my twins were born I have dedicated my working life towards becoming a nurse on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.”
His twins, Ashley and Elisa, were born five weeks early at at 5am on 3 November 2005, at 3lb 12oz and 5lb 1 oz respectively.
Paul said: “Ashley needed some help to breathe at first and was a little on the small side, so he was taken to a ward which looks after premature babies – the Neonatal Unit.
“He spent two days on the unit and I visited him a couple of hours after he was moved.
“The team welcomed me in, handed Ashley to me and encouraged me to try feeding him. I had never held a baby before but it was great for me to learn the basics.”
The family remained in the NICU for three weeks as Elise was struggling to feed.
“We received great support from Sue, a support worker, who looked after us all. She still works there today and I see her regularly at work,” he said.
Paul was working as a retail manager for Homebase when he became a father with his wife Catharine, 45.
Although he had aspirations of training to become a paramedic, he didn’t feel in a position to leave full-time employment.
He had been step-father to Thomas Palmer, 25, since he was three years old, but admits at that time couldn’t see himself having children of his own.
“This changed when the twins were born and I was trying to keep the tears from rolling down my face; it seemed so surreal that they were here,” he said.
In 2010 Paul started his training to become an Adult Nurse at university and began working at Nottingham University Hospitals three years later.
He started on an adult admissions ward but, later that year, joined the Neonatal team after going back to university to qualify in the Neonatal specialty.
Paul said: “In October I became the Ward Manager of the Neonatal Unit at QMC – the very place where my twins were born. This means such a lot to me.”
Nottingham-born Paul hopes that his story will help inspire more fathers and men to pursuit nursing.
“One of the things I love about my job is caring for the babies. Some of them are with us for 16+ weeks and we build strong relationships with the families.
“While I enjoy being one of the few male nurses, we would benefit from getting some more on board, especially for the Fathers of the patients.”