Each and every year, we celebrate May 12, as International Nurses Day. It’s a time to reflect and say ‘thank you’ to those people who look after us when we’re at our most vulnerable.
As acting director of nursing, midwifery and quality at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, I want to thank each and every nurse, from our experienced veterans to those currently training, for their dedication, service and care. This is an absolutely essential role and I feel proud and privileged to call you a colleague.
I began my nursing career in 1985, qualifying from the Sheffield School of Nursing. As was the norm at the time, I experienced a number of specialities, from urology to respiratory. Each placement was a learning curve, especially the time that I opened a sputum pot to uncover a false eye inside, suffice to say I decided ophthalmology wasn’t for me!
After experiencing all of these different work environments, I decided that the varied surgical departments interested me most, and this is where I found my home for the next number of years. Within these specialities I worked with fantastic nurses and doctors, taking on a number of challenges each day and working closely with patients, before moving on to the next step in my career in nursing.
Like so many in the profession, as a teenager I had no great master plan of what I wanted to do, but began my training because some of my peers were also doing so. I can say now that is was probably the best decision I’ve ever made. Working as a nurse within the NHS has given me such a fulfilling career, with so many opportunities available to develop and, while it may sound cliché, each day is different, presenting its own unique challenge.
So much has changed since I qualified. Today’s nurses are not confined to traditional stereotypes, instead providing crucial experience and insight in a number of positions from education to promotion and research, as well as leadership. The role doesn’t stop at the bedside, but now influences legislation, changes how health care is delivered and helps to prevent disease and infection. It really is a wide and varied job with masses of opportunity and potential to develop to fit with your interests and passions.
Nursing is a hugely rewarding and important profession that makes a difference to people’s lives every single day. If you’re just leaving school and wondering what next, why not consider nursing? If my experience is anything to go by, it’ll probably be the best decision you will ever make.