We talk to Sally Madden, project manager, patient experience team, at the University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, who started her nurse training in 1984.
Why did you become a nurse?
I always liked people, they interested me, and from a very young age I was delighted to support and help others.
Where did you train?
Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport.
What was your first job?
On an acute medicine ward for six months, then the intensive care unit. I passed my American State Board exams in 1989 then worked in an ICU in Florida.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I am often in a hurry, and my mind will skip ahead, which can lead me to interrupt others.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
I have met some inspirational people and been part of some amazing teams. Qualities in all of them have been respect for others, passion for work, drive and determination to make things better, clear communication and desire to always put the patient first. I am working with patient experience matron Alicia Lucas, who is very active and passionate about her role.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Communicate clearly and have a passion to help. How you make someone feel will be remembered when words are forgotten. Be the best you can, whenever you can. Tackle your weaknesses and improve skills.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Being able to help staff and teams to realise their potential and influence care, and support service improvements.
What is your proudest achievement?
It is difficult to pick just one achievement. I’m proud of being a mother, my published work around transcatheter aortic valve implants and percutaneous mitral valve repair, and developing patient video stories and a toolkit to improve services - the team reached the finals of the Nursing Times Awards 2013. I’m also proud of having been part of the NHS for 30 years and supporting people at difficult times.
Have a passion to help. How you make someone feel will be remembered when words are forgotten
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I am not sure. I have had other roles while a nurse - mother, recruitment manager, property developer and director of Legacy IT Consultants.
What makes a good nurse?
Being able to advocate for patients, so they have equality, dignity and freedom from suffering. A nurse needs a positive attitude, a friendly, sensitive disposition, and to be able to read subtle signs and engage early with people.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
It would be to give staff more time to sit, listen and talk to patients. Perhaps if we use technology to streamline processes across health and social care, this could happen.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
With friends and family at a village cricket or football match watching my boys compete, horse riding, the races -anything as long as there is good company, good food, and a cold glass of fizz.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
My mother, who passed away four years ago. She always made me feel good about myself and loved.