We talk to Ann Casey, senior nurse, Nursing and Midwifery Establishments at University College Hospitals Foundation Trust, who has been qualified for 30 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I can’t remember why, but I just always said I wanted to be either a nurse first and, if unable to do that, a teacher.
Where did you train?
Whipps Cross Hospital in east London and at Oxford John Radcliffe for my renal and urology specialist training.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse in acute coronary care.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Working when I should be off.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
June Moors, the senior sister for my second staff nurse post, was very strict and committed to educating both registered and student nurses to ensure we provided the very highest standards of care for every patient. She was a fantastic role model.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Make sure you go the extra mile to put the patient at the centre of each and every day. Think how they would want to be treated and always ask why someone is behaving in a certain way rather than assuming they are just being challenging.
What keeps you awake?
I’m fortunate - I work with fantastic teams in a values-led culture that puts safety, kindness, teamwork and improving at the centre of work. It’s a happy place and I enjoy my job - so no sleepless nights on that count.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Making a difference to a patient’s day.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Being ward sister on Devonshire Ward at The Royal London Hospital. Through the fantastic nursing team I had, I know I really made a positive difference for all those patients and families who were cared for there from 1988-1995, many of whom still write to me.
We are challenged a lot now but we must see those challenges as opportunities, not threats. We need a more can-do attitude
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
The publication of the National Quality Board’s guidance on safe staffing in 2013 is exciting. The drive for transparency of information demands rich data in relation to staffing and quality metrics and I hope we, as a profession, can embrace this opportunity to make the best use of the data and determine nursing’s impact on patient care and outcomes.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Helping less-experienced nurses learn good practice.
What makes a good nurse?
Highly educated individuals who are inherently kind, caring, comforting and can put the patient first every time.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
We are challenged a lot now but need to see those challenges as opportunities, not threats. We need a more can-do attitude.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
I love my weekends with my husband and boys - Gabriel and Samuel. It’s always busy dashing from the cycle track to cricket to rugby followed by our lovely “film” evening.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
My dad, who sadly died seven years ago. I would so love just one more hour with him, he was such a wise man.