We talk to Angela Wallace, honorary professor in the School of Nursing and Health at Stirling University, and executive director of nursing at NHS Forth Valley, who has been in the profession for more than 25 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I was influenced by a few nurses who attended to me with childhood falls. I decided early in my teens and never considered anything else.
Where did you train?
The Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse in the Victoria Infirmary intensive care and coronary care unit. I remained here and progressed to fulfil my ambition of becoming a sister.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
I am influenced by clinical leaders who are caring, confident and values driven. I have been inspired by patients and their families. I have also learnt from people whose traits I would never wish to emulate.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Always listen to patients and families and be guided by how you would feel if your loved ones were in your care. Be proud of the profession and uphold the Nursing and Midwifery Council code.
What keeps you awake?
Worrying about providing the best care and the nurses and teams for whom I am responsible. I also worry if my legs will make it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro next year to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Being able to be a strong advocate for the patient’s and the public’s voice. I get much satisfaction from working with nurses and midwives to improve care.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Sharing the success of the nurses and midwives at Forth Valley in respect to care and service delivery.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I have had no desire to leave nursing. However, perhaps forensics medicine. Crime scene investigation or forensic pathology is fascinating, but it is probably the problem solving and finding the truth that appeals to me.
What makes a good nurse?
Wanting to be a nurse in the first place. Having strong values that uphold respect, dignity and compassion. Plus a willingness to learn and
a belief there is nothing we can’t achieve.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
The invisible and not so visible threads that create barriers. These get in the way of care and use up the will and energy of staff who need to look after their patients.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Time with my partner, family and family of pets - definitely outdoors. Because I am training for Kilimanjaro, some swimming, cycling and walking. I would also enjoying showing my beautiful horse in the Coloured Horse and Pony Society events.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
This is an easy question for me, I would love to meet president Barack Obama. I have been inspired by his journey and have been in awe of his visionary and brave leadership. He seems to blend greatness with humility.