We talk to Debbie Casey, senior lecturer in nursing and continuing professional development at Leeds Beckett University, who has been a nurse for 32 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I wanted a career that involved working with people and had both an academic and practical application. My twin sister was applying for nursing and I was seduced by the glossy school of nursing brochures.
Where did you train?
St Bartholomew’s School of Nursing in London - a great place to be based in, with St Paul’s Cathedral on one side and Smithfield market on the other.
What was your first job?
Staff nurse on an ear, nose and throat ward.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I have a tendency to speak my mind without always thinking things through. I have worked at being more reflective and less opinionated as I have got older.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
Too many people to mention - I have worked with some fantastic colleagues. I have also learnt from feedback from patients and relatives, and more recently, from the experiences of the students I teach.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Try to enjoy your work, don’t stress too much about having long-term career plans and be open to development opportunities as they arise.
Rethink funding priorities so care of older people becomes the “jewel in the crown”, rather than the poor relation of healthcare
What keeps you awake?
My husband’s snoring.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing students and practitioners develop. Getting feedback that you have helped them to make a positive difference to their practice is always gratifying.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Professionally, getting my first sister’s post and the award of my degree and master’s. Personally, I suppose it is having been happily married for 28 years and having my son.
What will change nursing in the next decade?
The move to delivering more complex care in the community and the strengthening of the role of general practice will continue. I also think the relationship between lifestyle, socio-economic factors and health will be increasingly recognised and this will be reflected in nursing roles.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
Most likely an English teacher.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
The ability to apply knowledge intelligently, to communicate effectively and to deliver care compassionately.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I do worry about our ageing population and the seeming lack of any strategic plans for ensuring we have the resources so that older people get the care they need (and deserve). We need to rethink our funding priorities and come up with a radical strategy so care of older people becomes the “jewel in the crown”, rather than the poor relation of our health and social care.
What’s your ideal weekend?
A country house hotel in a beautiful setting, a long (flat) walk, good food and a Sunday lunch with my immediate and extended family.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
I am a big fan of the writer, satirist and fellow Yorkshire man, Alan Bennett.