We talk to Jane Robinson, senior nurse consultant at Consultus Care and Nursing Limited, and midwife, who qualified as a nurse in 1983.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
From a young age I liked to help people and was often told I had a compassionate nature. With a mother and an aunt in the profession, you could say there was inevitability about it.
Where did you train?
I did my general training at Farnborough School of Nursing in London, on the site of what is now the Princess Royal Hospital. My midwifery training was done at Pembury Hospital, now the site of The Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
What was your first job?
I worked on a general medical ward in a cottage hospital in Beckenham, south London.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I’m terrible at delegating. If something needs doing quickly, I’d rather add it to my workload to be sure it gets done.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
My midwifery tutor, Mrs Wendy Campbell. She used to take us up to the wards for tutorials and taught us to use our eyes and ears above all else.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
There are three key things to remember: don’t be afraid to ask questions; learn to prioritise your workload; and remember that every nurse has had to go through the same learning curve and things will become less daunting.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
In my role as a midwife it’s giving new parents the confidence and self-belief that they will be able to look after their newborn baby. In my role with Consultus, it’s the feeling of really making a difference when sending out a nurse. This could allow someone to spend whatever time they have left at home with their family.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
It’s difficult to believe the cuts being made won’t impact on nursing but I couldn’t begin to predict how things will look in 10 years. I hope the quality of nursing remains high. It’s vital to deliver a health service that cares effectively for, and about, its patients.
Which job would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
Something in textile design. I’ve always been interested in it.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Exactly what I’m doing now.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
It’s very cliched but it’s true - a caring and compassionate nature really is the cornerstone of every good nurse. Good communication and listening skills are also a big help.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Now and again decisions are made to balance the books, but have a detrimental effect on services. I’d ensure this didn’t happen.
What’s your ideal weekend?
A walk on the beach with my family and dog, and a pub lunch.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
On occasion the live-in nursing service we provide at Consultus works with local hospices to share nursing care. I would love to have spent an hour with Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of St Christopher’s, the world’s first purpose-built hospice. What an amazing lady.