We talk to Charlene Roe, operations manager for the Nottingham cancer clinical trials team at Nottingham University Hospitals, who has been a nurse for 11 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
Two reasons. My mum worked in the NHS all of her life, which inspired me to think about healthcare as a profession. When I was 15, I was travelling back from a six-week trip in the US with my sister and I sat next to an American nurse who was telling me how the UK trained the best nurses - I think from that moment my mind was made up.
Where did you train?
University of Nottingham, Mansfield School of Nursing.
What was your first job in nursing?
My first job was on an acute cardiology/medical ward.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Worry. I worry a lot. I’m also impatient.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
My first ward manager, who was also my manager three more times in various jobs after that. I still have moments where I think: “What would Mel do?”
What advice would you give someone starting out?
When I was a student nurse, the medical head of service said don’t be afraid to move around, change and get experience. This has certainly served me well, and I tend to pass this message on.
What keeps you awake?
Managing a large team of staff.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Empowering and developing staff, which ultimately enables them to deliver the best care.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Getting the management job I have within 10 years of qualifying, while having two babies and bringing them up (which I could not have done without the support and help of my mum and dad).
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Personalised medicine will be the norm, with targeted drugs for specific genes.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I would probably have continued in the job I had when I left school. I got a job in between finishing my A-levels in the May and starting my nurse training in March as a food development technologist, which involved developing new food products for supermarkets.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I would like to be a research network manager.
What makes a good nurse?
Being able to listen and understand, not only patients but also to staff. It’s also important to remain calm.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
A fully integrated information technology system for primary, secondary and social care.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A weekend at Center Parcs with my two boys, mum and dad, sister… the list goes on! A true family break. I could not be doing my job without my family, they are a great support.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
The English chef Heston Blumenthal. Nothing is impossible in his eyes. I would love to see how he develops food and where he draws
his inspiration from. Fascinating.