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60 seconds with...Jacqueline O'Brien, staff nurse at University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust

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We talk to Jacqueline O’Brien, staff nurse at University Hospital of South Manchester Foundation Trust, caremaker and chair of the Student Quality Ambassador scheme, who qualified in September 2013.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I applied for nursing following several personal experiences of being cared for as a patient in various hospitals and care settings across the UK, US and Ireland. I had already completed a media degree and wasn’t satisfied in my job. I knew I had to change career and haven’t looked back since.

Where did you train?

Manchester Metropolitan University.

What was your first job in nursing?

This is my first post. I had my elective placement on the burns unit and I knew this was where I wanted to start my career.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I am keen to be involved in many things, and I wear myself out sometimes. I’m forever putting myself forward for initiatives such as the Student Quality Ambassador scheme and Care Makers, which doesn’t leave me with much down time.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Only join if compassion is your business and you have the passion and commitment to “rock the boat” when things aren’t right.

What keeps you awake at night?

My husband and dog snoring.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Being able to support my patients through the toughest journey of their lives. Dealing with the pain they suffer, both physically and emotionally.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Being accepted onto the Student Quality Ambassador scheme, and then becoming chair for the Manchester area. This has helped me to develop leadership and communication skills. It also taught me about how we can share good practice between clinical areas and/or hospitals.

Only join nursing if compassion is your business and you have the passion to rock the boat when things aren’t right

What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?

I would love to think nursing will become as paperless as possible.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

I would like to be working as a ward sister, and possibly be more involved in the Student Quality Ambassador scheme.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

It’s important to have good communication skills, be caring, compassionate, understanding and willing to learn new skills. A smile also goes a long way.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?

I would want more staff trained and employed to ensure that every patient contact counts; that it isn’t rushed, and that the patient is left with a nice feeling whether it’s from a cup of tea, a chat with the nurse, or a medical intervention. Patient care is at my heart.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Going home for a family party, with lots of laughs, food and a few glasses of prosecco.

If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?

My grandmother. She’s got Alzheimer’s disease and is bedbound due to other medical conditions. I would take her out to the park and watch the world go by while listening to her stories.

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