We talk to Angela Reed-Fox, digital clinical champion for NHS England’s Patient Online, who has been a nurse for
Why did you become a nurse?
I came to nursing after a degree in anthropology and working as a magazine journalist in London. Like many nurses, I wanted to make a difference, change things and make people better.
Where did you train?
What is now Birmingham City University. I had placements at Dudley Road and Moseley Hall hospitals.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a bank district nurse for South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, and I loved it. I worked in a huge variety of teams, met great nurses and unforgettable patients. I learned many different ways to do the same thing, and began an enduring love affair with leg ulcers.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I’ve fought with a lack of confidence since I was young.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
Probably the chaps on my first placement: a male stroke rehab ward. There were people there I will never forget. They’re like a “panel” of patients who still steer my nursing.
Nurses are resourceful, practical and flexible, so they’re well placed to storm ahead with entrepreneurial projects
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Keep focused. There’s a lot you do that you can’t quite see the purpose of, but keep the end result in mind. And when you’re doing the job, stay focused. That’s where it counts most.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Being involved in a momentous time of NHS history. How can we give patient-centred care and empower patients to self-care when they don’t even have access to their records? Patient access needs to happen because we need to be more resourceful and transparent, and provide integrated care - and our patients deserve it.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Getting the Queen’s Nurse award has proved to be a springboard for other things, such as my post with NHS England, and setting up Fox Cycling - a business that streams live cycling classes online to people with exercise bikes in their own homes.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Entrepreneurialism and informatics. Nurses are resourceful, practical and flexible, so they’re well placed to storm ahead with entrepreneurial projects that improve patient care and help the NHS. There’s going to be a greater need for nurse-led care, and informatics will be part of that - and social media.
What makes a good nurse?
Never ever forgetting why you wanted to be a nurse. That carries you through the hardest days, the toughest tasks - and the strongest smells.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I’d like nurses to be correctly valued. The average person would be surprised at the responsibility and knowledge we have: drugs, interactions, contraindications, differential diagnoses, oh yes, and rashes. Hundreds of types of rashes.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A long blustery walk with my wonky greyhound, Sean.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
I have surrounded myself with brilliant people, so I get their company a lot. But an hour with Roald Dahl would be great.