We talk to Zoe Mclean, safeguarding named nurse for adults at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, who has been a nurse for 15 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wanted to help people who were sick to get medically better. When I became a nurse, though, I realised that it is not just about medicine and treatment, it is so much more. Nursing is about supporting patients holistically to aid their recovery.
Where did you train?
Plymouth University and Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
What was your first job in nursing?
Children’s unit at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
Positive role models, those who recognise the challenge is going to be tough but it doesn’t stop them. They say “we can” instead of “we can’t”.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I take criticism of nurses and the NHS personally. I am proud to be an NHS nurse so bad press or stories hit me hard.
What keeps you awake at night?
I rarely don’t sleep. I put 110% into my day, fitting in as much as I can in my work and home life so I am tired when I go to bed. If you have tried your best in your day, that is all you can do; overthinking what you should have done won’t help.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
I get up every day with the aim of helping someone, be it patients, the team I work with, friends or neighbours. This desire to help and support drives me. I love my job and enjoy going to work; what is more satisfying than that?
“Nurses need to take the lead in promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting their patients to take the healthy path in life”
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
The NHS is facing its biggest challenge with people living longer but not choosing healthy lifestyles. Nurses need to take the lead in promoting healthy lifestyles and supporting their patients and families to take the healthy path in life. I never shy away from encouraging people to eat well and stay healthy. All nurses need to lead by example to ensure the survival of the NHS in the next decade and beyond.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
You need to care about people, and want to help even if it is in the smallest way. Listening and communicating well are essential traits; I have found that sometimes just listening to patients and their families can make such a difference.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Ensuring there is equal access in healthcare for all. I spent five years supporting people with learning disabilities in the acute hospital and it opened my eyes to the importance of making reasonable adjustments to ensure equal access. There are many inequalities for different reasons - I’d like to see an end to that inequality.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Cooking or baking and then taking my dog out with the family on a long coastal walk.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Aneurin Bevan. He is my hero. He fought to ensure everyone had access to free, good healthcare and I would want to tell him there are still people fighting for the same today, carrying on his legacy.