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60 seconds with ... lead nurse Sue Wilson at Tameside General Hospital

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We talk to Sue Wilson, lead nurse in the outpatients department at Tameside General Hospital, Ashton under Lyne in Lancashire, who has been a nurse for 45 years.


Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I used to visit my grandparents on the Wirral. One day, I was walking passed Clatterbridge Hospital, I was about aged seven or eight, and a nurse with a big smile waved at me. I thought: “I want to be a nurse one day with a big smile.” I never changed my mind from that day.

Where did you train?

Tameside General Hospital on the outskirts of Greater Manchester.

What was your first job in nursing?

A staff nurse on a male surgical ward.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I never say “no” and sometimes this backfires, causing me sleepless nights.

From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?

A particular senior sister who I worked with for many years on the surgical unit when I was a young sister myself. I always will remember her, for she was really strict but loved her staff and patients.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

I would say be yourself, on the bad days turn all your negatives into positives and always move forwards not backwards.

What keeps you awake at night?

I reflect about most things. I want everything to be perfect - work, home, family - and I do worry about minute details. It’s a balancing act sometimes to please everyone.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Seeing patients and their families receiving excellent care and attention and knowing in some way I have contributed in that process.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Becoming a ward sister at 23.

What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

I worry about dedication and commitment - a good nurse needs to go through the ranks and not specialise too soon. Basic nursing care and practice gives a good nurse the fundamentals to pursue their career.

I worry about dedication and commitment - a good nurse needs to go through the ranks and not specialise too soon

Which job would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

An air stewardess.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

I think I may have retired.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

A nurse must have a love for others, be kind, caring and a very happy, selfless person. A nurse must also have a passion for learning and development, and motivation.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

The paperwork.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

To relax in a quiet place, with a lovely meal prepared.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

The footballer David Beckham. He is always smiling and I would love to meet him. No matter what goes on in his career he always manages to change a negative into a positive.

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