We talk to Christopher Nicholson, lead clinician, cardiac and respiratory service, at the Minerva Centre, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust, who qualified in 1997.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wanted a job working with people, which had lots of variety and challenges.
Where did you train?
The University of Hertfordshire for pre-registration training and then the University of Liverpool for clinical masters.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse, orthopedic trauma at the QEII Hospital, Welwyn Garden City.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I can become impatient and frustrated at times when barriers to delivering care arise. One of the effects of working in the NHS is that you become skilled at finding ways to overcome such issues and also at taking a deep breath and carrying on.
There is the opportunity to learn something from everyone if you are prepared to listen properly
From whom have you learnt most from in your career?
Many, many people - staff and patients. I think there is the opportunity to learn something from everyone if you are prepared to listen properly.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Treat everyone as you would wish to be treated and never forget we all become patients eventually. Respect and courtesy cost nothing and help life go more smoothly.
What keeps you awake at night?
I try and use my commuting time to reflect on the day and avoid dwelling on work too much while at home. Sometimes a clinical issue needs mulling over but concern over stretching resources and meeting service demands is a more regular headache.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
I enjoy the variety in my job: I am fortunate to have a clinical role, as well as teaching and management roles. Also, helping a patient to get the best outcome.
What’s your proudest achievement?
I am proud when I think I have delivered a good service, both in clinical practice and also as a manager.
What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Nursing, like all healthcare professions, will have to become more responsive to changing patient demographics, cost pressures, and probably more influence from consumer and market forces.
What makes a good nurse?
Having a good dose of common sense, the ability to communicate with people, be able to cope in sometimes difficult circumstances, and through it all understand and deliver evidence-based care.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Organise services truly around the patient, which always seems to be an aim but is rarely put into practice. Nurses don’t have anything to fear from such a change as services run by nurses are usually very well evaluated by patients.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Playing football in the park with my twin boys, followed by homemade pizzas and a pillow fight.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
My grandparents - there are a lot of things I never thought to ask them and now it’s too late.