We talk to Jane Manns, advancing practice nurse at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, who has been a nurse for 27 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
My aunt used to tell stories of when she was a district nurse. This made me think that nursing might be the career for me.
Where did you train?
I emigrated to South Africa aged 17 and trained in Cape Town.
What was your first job?
On a medical ward in the hospital where I had trained.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
My desire to achieve 100% in all I do: SuperMum, SuperNurse, SuperWife and SuperOrganiser.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
Liz Bryan, the advancing practice team leader at St Christopher’s Hospice. I wanted a career in nursing education and she enabled me to feel more confident and competent by encouraging me to adopt a student-centred approach.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
The ability to communicate is most important. Listen to patients, be genuine, trustworthy and empathetic. Always ask patients what concerns them most, and don’t make assumptions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer - the fact you have listened and are prepared to find out will help a person feel valued and taken seriously. Look after yourself and find someone you can talk to. Enjoy your work. No two days are the same.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
I enjoy supporting nurses and students new to palliative care. I fulfil an educational role while staying involved in patient care.
What is your proudest achievement?
A 10,000ft tandem skydive in South Africa. Working in palliative care reminds you to live for the moment.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
I hope that an outcome of the Francis report is better staff to patient ratios.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I would love to have been a Blue Peter presenter.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I enjoy what I am doing now as I have a good balance of both informal and formal teaching combined with patient care.
What makes a good nurse?
A good listener who remains calm under pressure. A “people” person who is professional while maintaining their individuality and sense of humour. Someone who recognises the importance of evidence-based practice, and has the ability to empower others. A patient advocate.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be I would like to see training in end-of-life care as a mandatory part of nursing and medical degrees to demystify care for the dying - 53% of complaints received by the acute sector are about end-of-life care. I believe hospices can play an important part in delivering this training.
What is your ideal weekend?
Long dog walk, meal and drink with friends, a trip to the theatre, time to read and a Sunday roast, cooked by my husband and the kids, with apple crumble and custard.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
The paralympian David Weir to talk about his commitment and determination, and what it takes to be as successful as he is.