We talk to Caroline Knott, nurse educator, children and young people’s cancer service, University College London Hospital, who has been a nurse for 12 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
Through working as a care assistant, my boss encouraged me to go for it. I couldn’t think of what else to do and I liked the idea of going to university with a bursary.
Where did you train?
University of Nottingham.
What was your first job in nursing?
I did an 18-month paediatric D grade rotation, starting in neurosciences, general medicine, then oncology.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Impatience. I get frustrated when things take a long time to happen, so I have a tendency to take over sometimes. I’m a bit bossy maybe.
From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?
I’m sure everyone says this, but it’s my patients. I’ve done various roles with all age ranges of children and young people - they never fail to amuse, surprise and inspire me.
Nursing is a great profession and full of great professionals - but it’s not for the faint-hearted
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
Don’t be put off by the stuff you read in the media.
Nursing is a great profession and full of great professionals - but it’s not for the faint- hearted either.
What keeps you awake at night?
The drip from the leak in my roof caused by the storm on Christmas Eve and still not fixed properly.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
I love teaching hands-on nursing in the clinical areas. Seeing the junior nurses progress and knowing I’ve influenced their practice.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Completing my MSc last year - I honestly didn’t think I would get there.
What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Careers in nursing are becoming increasingly varied and diverse. I think we will see nurses increasingly taking the lead in innovating and expanding practice to benefit patient care and shape the health service.
Which job would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
A teacher or maybe something creative like writing.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Advanced nurse practitioner - that’s what my MSc is in.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
It’s all about team work and having great colleagues around you. Also, a nurse needs the chief nursing officer for England’s 6Cs. A sense of humour also helps a lot.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Staffing levels. We need more nurses.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Laughter, good food and wine, and fresh air.
If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
The actress Emma Thompson visited our unit back in the summer and she was wonderful, so I think it would be her.