19 November 2021
Suman Shrestha is a critical care nurse consultant at Frimley Health, professional lead for critical care at the Royal College of Nursing and a lecturer at the University of Brighton. He has contributed significantly to the development of health and social care both in Nepal and the UK.
Unlike most nurses, as a nurse consultant Suman can treat and diagnose patients, as well as complete procedures and prescribe medications. He was one of the first critical care nurse prescribers in the South-East.
Alongside his clinical role, he also helps to train and teach colleagues, recently helping to train more than 400 nurses who had been redeployed from other areas of the Trust during the first and second waves of Covid.
Suman has worked in nursing for over 20 years, completing his training at the University of Surrey and joining Frimley Park Hospital as a newly qualified nurse in 2000. He started his career with a rotational programme working on medical, surgical and private wards before finding his calling in critical care. He said: “I remember walking into ITU and it was like ‘ding’ this is where I want to be.”
Suman has always had a passion for caring for others. His older sister has cerebral palsy and his parents set up a day centre for disabled children in his home town in Nepal when he was young. A family friend saw the fantastic work that Suman was doing at the centre and offered to sponsor him to move to the UK to train to become a nurse.
Suman said: “I remember thinking ‘Nursing? Really?’ In developing countries there is still such a stigma that men don’t become nurses. But I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to do something that really mattered.”
For men looking to pursue a career in nursing, Suman is keen to show them how versatile being a nurse is. “There’s still this stereotype that nurses are like they were in Carry On films with the hats and the bed pans, but that’s so far from the truth nowadays,” he said.
“Nursing is such a vast and varied profession that centres around helping patients through some of the worst days in their lives. You don’t have to be a certain gender to care for people.”
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Suman is hoping to travel back to Nepal in the near future to continue his work setting up a charity to train critical care nurses and doctors and improve critical care facilities for local communities.