We talk to Anne Nash, matron at St Christopher’s Hospice in London, who has been a nurse for 24 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I always wanted to be a nurse from an early age and as a teenager I volunteered helping and meeting older people.
Where did you train?
King’s College Hospital in London.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse on a gynaecology ward.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
At times I will speak my thoughts before I have thought everything through.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
Three nurses stand out. I could not tell you what it always was that they did, but they seemed to role model really good nursing care. They encouraged
other nurses to develop their practice in an empowering way, which I admired.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Make sure you work out how to support yourself in the tough times - everyone is different. Enjoying my family and life outside work has helped me keep my work in perspective.
What keeps you awake?
With a full-time job and three children I am usually exhausted, so sleep is not a problem.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Talking and being with patients. Sometimes it is just something they say that makes my job so worthwhile.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Getting my MSc in advancing nursing practice palliative care.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
I would like to think that nursing could become more compassionate and patient centred. My concern is that, although all nurses know how and why this should happen, nursing culture often does not allow this to thrive, as nurses can often quickly accept another task that gets in the way.
Too many patients are cared for by social carers without adequate supervision and have no link with district nursing teams
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I have always been interested in geography - possibly working for the BBC weather team.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Hopefully the one I have. This seems to be the job for me.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
A sound knowledge, competent skills, and ability to communicate and be compassionate with patients. Too many patients are cared for by social
carers without adequate supervision and have no link with district nursing teams
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Reduce fragmentation in community care for patients. Too many patients are cared for by social carers who do not appear to have adequate
supervision. There currently is no link with the district nursing teams, who have no direct management or room in their busy workloads for
teaching, support or supervision of these careers.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A lovely trip to the coast with my husband and children. Nice food, drink and lots of laughs.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
That’s a very di cult question. I love Jane Austen so it would be great to go back in time to talk to her and get her to describe the many people she based the characters on. And possibly also meet the real Mrs Bennet.