We talk to Brendan Brown, director of nursing at Burton Hospitals Foundation Trust, who has been a nurse for 26 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I had friends who were applying to be nurses and, as I was always interested in people, I decided that this would be the best career for me too.
Where did you train?
I trained at what was then the Derby School of Nursing, starting in 1988.
What was your first job in nursing?
I worked as a staff nurse in vascular and general surgery, and went on to work in acute medicine and specialist palliative care.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Impatience - I’m impatient with my impatience.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
Two people have had a huge influence on me: Di Lancaster, a surgical ward sister who was always the epitome of professionalism; and Jayne Mills, who has since gone on to train and work as a clinical psychologist. She helped me understand the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Public expectation and the impact of an all-graduate profession will change nursing in the next decade
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
I would say enjoy every minute of your training and focus on delivering hands-on care while in placement.
What keeps you awake at night?
The question of whether I am doing the right things for patients and staff.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing the nursing workforce at Burton Hospitals grow in confidence and continue their commitment to patient care.
What’s your proudest achievement?
I was proud to join Burton as director of nursing early in 2013. I am proud of the opportunity to work with the staff at our hospitals in Burton, Lichfield and Tamworth and see how they have responded to the challenge of being a Keogh trust.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
Public expectation and the impact of an all-graduate profession.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I come from a family of farmers, so I would have become a farmer - or a teacher.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Come back to me on that in five years.
What makes a good nurse?
To be a good nurse I think you need to be good with people and have the ability to relate to them on all levels.
A good sense of humour is important too.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I would renew the general public’s faith in the nursing profession.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Walking my dog and generally unwinding.
If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
Aung San Suu Kyi. She has spent most of the last two decades in some form of detention because of her efforts to bring equality
and democracy to Burma. I think she is the embodiment of selfless leadership.