We talk to Carol-Anne Murphy (nee Kelly), nurse consultant at the 5 Boroughs Partnership Foundation Trust, who qualified as a mental health nurse in 1986.
Why did you become a nurse?
I came into nursing by accident. There was an advert in a job centre for people who enjoyed talking to people, helping people and making a difference. At the time, I was 18 and did not know what I wanted to do. Training as a registered mental health nurse appealed to me and the rest is history.
Where did you train?
Fife College of Nursing and Midwifery, which is now part of Dundee University.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse in a mental health therapeutic unit for adolescents.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I say “yes” without asking the full details of what is being asked. I then end up being confused and unable to complete the task required.
Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career?
The young people I have worked with because they don’t hold back when giving feedback.
Don’t be scared of being an apprentice when you’ve qualified and be transparent with the people you’re working with
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Don’t panic in terms of going through the “bands”. Don’t be scared of being an apprentice when you’ve qualified. Be transparent with the people you’re working with. Lastly, treat everyone as you, yourself, would want to be treated, with respect.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
When young people do well in their mental health journey. When students I have worked with decide they want a career in child and adolescent mental health services. I also like presenting at conferences.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Being in nursing for 25 years (its now 31 years since I started my training). Being shortlisted for a Nursing Times Award and being shortlisted for a Student Led Teaching Award.
What will change nursing in the next decade?
There will be shortages of nurses as people retire with not as many nurses coming through universities. There will be a rethink on how training is delivered with more emphasis on practical skills again. There will be more mature students applying to study nursing too.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I applied to work in a bank and in a library. While I was academically able for both, I would have been easily bored. I would liked to have been a primary school teacher.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to be lecturing again part time and running my own business part time - although I’m not sure what my business would look like but would use my nursing skills.
What makes a good nurse?
Being respectful, caring, having excellent communication skills, being patient, being self-aware. Having the ability to laugh and cry with those you work with.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Less of a post code lottery for services received. Equal access to all.
What’s your ideal weekend?
Shopping, spending time with family and friends, maybe visiting new places.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
My gran, because I really miss her. I’d love to tell her all about my son who has inherited our love of hoarding and shopping.