We talk to Michaela Nuttall, CVD coordinator for Public Health Bromley, partner at Smart Health Solutions and health director at HeartAge, who has been a nurse for 22 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I’d love to say it’s what I always wanted to do but I didn’t do as well in my A-Levels as I could have and wanted a career that offered a qualification and accommodation. Nursing seemed perfect - and it was.
Where did you train?
King’s College Hospital in London. Mine was “old-style” training - we learned on the job with school in blocks.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse on a cardiology ward at King’s. It was at the very beginning of my career that I developed a passion for cardiovascular disease.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I like to have lots of things on the go at the same time, so I’m constantly juggling. This means I am very last minute in most things, which can put a fair bit of pressure on other people.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
I’ve picked up lots from patients and various health professionals but a sister on a cardiothoracic ward I worked on had a “list of rules”. She emphasised the importance of getting the basics right to build from solid foundations. She taught me, for example, the importance of checking things rather than assuming someone else had already done them.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Think beyond the hospital. There are many opportunities available within and outside the profession so get involved in whatever interests you.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Part of my role is as a CVD trainer and I like making something complicated simple and seeing the light-bulb moment as someone “gets it”.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Beyond being a mum, I’d say becoming health director at HeartAge. HeartAge is the way to empower people to want to make lifestyle changes that can improve cholesterol, blood pressure and other risk factors to cut CVD risk.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
As we live longer, we will have more people with long-term conditions and potentially fewer nurses to care for them. Workload issues will be huge.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I love change but with so many changes in the NHS recently,
I don’t want to do anything different. I’d just like to do
more of what I’m doing: improving CVD prevention and management by helping health professionals empower more people to take control of their own health.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
Being compassionate, resilient and determined while having a good sense of humor. I also believe that good foundations, the desire to do good, and putting quality at the core of care should underpin nursing.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I’d put the NHS back together. It feel like all the pieces of the jigsaw are scattered.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Johnny Vegas. I’d spend that hour laughing, which is good for the soul. It’s important to