Leyburn woman inspired to train as nurse after spine operation

Samantha Heeney.

A woman who hated hospitals until she underwent a major operation to straighten her spine has trained as a nurse.

Samantha Heeney, 20, from Leyburn, was inspired to join the NHS following her spinal deformity operation at the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, in 2017.

“The care I received at James Cook is 100 per cent what inspired me to become a nurse,” she said.

“I remember I was already looking at healthcare courses during the car journey home post op.

“The paediatric intensive care unit and ward 22 gave me an amazing patient experience and I wanted to pass the same level of compassion onto other people.”

As well as inspiring her to train as a nurse, Samantha, who is going into her second year of training, said the procedure helped her both mentally and physically.

“There was an obvious deformity so I used to wear baggy clothes that covered my body and back brace, but now my self-image has improved drastically and I’m confident enough to wear whatever I like due to being nice and straight.

Samantha Heeney’s x-rays.

“It’s taught me a lot about resilience and made me a much more grateful person too.”

During her training Samantha was placed on a spinal ward at another hospital.

“Helping patients undergoing the same surgery that I did has been amazing,” she added.

“Being able to tell children and their parents that everything really will be ok is such a blessing.”