We talk to Andrea Denton, senior lecturer at the University of Huddersfield, who has been a nurse for 29 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
From a young age I was interested in microbiology and had considered a career in a hospital laboratory. After school, I worked at the civil service where I realised my passion lay in helping others. This steered me towards nursing.
Where did you train?
The Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
What was your first job in nursing?
Night shift then internal rotation in different areas - my first shifts were in accident and emergency and the intensive care unit.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I cannot say “no”, which can mean I take on too much.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
My sister who I followed into nursing; she has always been a good role model. Others included a ward manager, a matron and a senior nurse who was my line manager when I had a specialist role. These people combined ability, leadership and care and compassion.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself or you would want your family and people close to you to be treated. This includes colleagues as well as patients.
What keeps you awake at night?
I have to do on call and being woken at night can leave me thinking about the advice I have given.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Helping staff and patients by advising or getting involved in the patient care/management aspects of infection prevention and control.
What’s your proudest achievement?
My nursing and nursing-related qualifications.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
Major changes in healthcare delivery will provide challenges. The nursing role will become more diverse and be integrated into different aspects of health and social care across acute and community settings.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I undertook a master’s in healthcare law and I would have loved to have been involved in the legal profession.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I am undertaking my PhD so would like to be involved in postdoctorate research and education, but still with some infection prevention and control involvement.
What makes a good nurse?
This would have to include caring, having a good work ethic and being conscientious; willing to learn and having integrity and honesty.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
This may be construed as two but it is related to staffing; having the correct skill mix of healthcare practitioners and the correct number for the patients or client group being cared for in a particular setting.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A city or country break with my husband.
If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
Winston Churchill because of his great leadership qualities.