We talk to Helen Lee, who has been a specialist rheumatology nurse at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for six years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I am naturally caring and this, coupled with my love of children, meant nursing was an obvious choice.
Where did you train?
What was your first job?
On the neonatal surgical unit at Sheffield Children’s Hospital - it was a great first job.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I am a perfectionist so I am always hard on myself, no matter what I have done.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
I have learnt from different inspirational people over the course of my career. A couple of examples are the nursing manager who rolled up his sleeves and worked shifts on a ward when it was short staffed and the paediatric surgical consultant who not only fed a baby one Christmas when the staff on her ward were busy, but also made drinks for all the staff. These acts of kindness taught me about success through team spirit, compassion and going beyond the call of duty.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Always remember why you wanted to become a nurse and treat patients and families with compassion, respect and dignity to the best of your ability.
What keeps you awake?
Many people believe arthritis is an “older person’s disease”. In fact, 15,000 children and babies live with the condition in the UK so many have to endure pain on a daily basis. I would like to raise awareness of the condition so people understand how vital research into the area will give them the best future possible.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing the positive outcomes, however small, for patients and families, such as the 10-year-old being able to give her own injections and then ringing me up to tell me she had done it.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Marrying my husband in 2005 and having my two beautiful boys. I also ran the London Marathon this year for Arthritis Research UK. They fund some incredible research into juvenile arthritis. They also provide excellent information booklets, which I find useful for helping patients and parents.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
The focus on higher education for all aspects of nursing.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
My current job. It is constantly changing and the care given aspect is always being reassessed.
What makes a good nurse?
The ability to listen, show compassion and understanding and being prepared to get your hands dirty.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I would like to see more funding for research for juvenile arthritis. The children that I work with have a right to live without pain and hopefully research will make that a reality.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A walk in the park with my husband and two boys, followed by a meal out.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Mother Teresa. She was an inspirational woman.