Making connections

RCN Bulletin speaks to members who’ve found love through their love of nursing

Louis and Charlotte

It isn’t unusual for people to find love while they’re studying but, for Louis and Charlotte, it was friendship that came first. 

“We met at the student bar at Birmingham University and had been really good friends for a while but, when Louis went on placement to Malawi, I realised how much I missed him and that there was more than just friendship there,” says Charlotte. 

Fast forward another four years and they’re now living happily together in Birmingham, due to be married in May.

RCN members Louis and Charlotte in Birmingham
Picture by Steve Baker

“It can be hard to manage our schedules at times,” says Louis, “but when we were both working clinically we always requested the same shift patterns and days off so we would get the most time together. Now I’m working more normal office hours it can actually be harder. If Charlotte is on nights or weekends we don’t see each other really.”

While their day-to-day experiences are vastly different, with Charlotte working in A&E and Louis making a move into education, they still appreciate the support of having a partner who works within the profession.

“It’s really nice to be able to come home at the end of a stressful day to someone who can empathise with how you’re feeling,” Charlotte says.

Tristan and Kath

Tristan and Kath met in the Army Reserves when Tristan was posted to Kath’s Cardiff unit as the regular nursing officer. He was overseeing the team as they prepared to deploy to Afghanistan and, by the time they were out there one year later, they were engaged.

“It was really great having Tristan there with me as it was my first time on tour, but it was such a busy time that some days we would barely manage a passing hello.” says Kath.

RCN members and Army nurses Tristan and Kath

Though they’ve worked in close proximity and it’s always hard not to bring work home, the pair have plenty of other interests in common and manage to keep a good balance between their professional and personal lives.

“Like any couple, we have a little debrief about how our day was but, apart from that, we rarely talk about work,” says Tristan. “It’s how we met, and it’s something that connects us, but it doesn’t define our relationship.”

Nursing is how we met, and it’s something that connects us, but it doesn’t define our relationship

Saana and Rebecca

Saana and Rebecca met just over two years ago while working in the intensive care unit of London’s University College Hospital. 

“We’re not short of difficult days and experiences due to the nature of our jobs,” says Saana. “We were both working on the night of the London Bridge terror attack and it was a very shocking and upsetting shift. It was nice to go home together after that and be able to fully understand what each other had been through.”

Since then, Rebecca has moved to King’s to train as one of London’s first advanced critical care practitioners so they no longer work directly together.

RCN members and critical care nurses Saana and Rebecca
Picture by Gareth Harmer

“We’re seeing a lot less of each other now,” says Rebecca, “but it’s actually better in some ways as we really make the most of the time we do have and our professional and personal lives are more defined.” 

When they’re not working, they like to totally remove themselves from work. This year they’re off to Saana’s native Finland to stay in an igloo in the Arctic Circle – about as far as you can get from London’s intensive care life perhaps. 

Lucy and Dann

Lucy and Dann are both students in their final year of children’s nursing – but not in the same city. Luckily, their roles as RCN student information officers brought them together last year.

“Dann and I met by chance at an RCN meeting. We stayed in touch a little over Facebook and actually got together after being at Congress in Liverpool last year. I hadn’t been very well and had to go to hospital there. Dann stayed with me the whole time, even coming back to Birmingham with me when I got transferred.

RCN members and student nurses Lucy and Dann

“It’s not easy having a long distance relationship, especially when you’re both so busy with studying and placements and RCN duties, but we always make time to see each other, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Dann is moving to Birmingham in a few months so hopefully we’ll get a chance to see each other more then – work schedules allowing!”

Make new connections

RCN Congress takes place every year. Why not come along, get involved at the heart of RCN decision-making and meet lots of like-minded people from across the full range of nursing backgrounds?

Just like Lucy and Dann, you could end up finding love at Congress!

Words by Leah Williams

Read next...