We talk to Martin Steggall, associate dean and director of undergraduate studies at City University London, and clinical nurse specialist in erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation at Barts Health NHS Trust, who qualified in 1996
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I have a physical disability so spent much of my time in hospital as a child. I also had a brother who was terminally ill who I wanted to care for, so felt I had some “inside” knowledge about what being a patient was like.
Where did you train?
St Bartholomew’s School of Nursing and Midwifery in London.
What was your first job in nursing?
As a healthcare assistant in an elderly mentally ill ward at Oak Unit, Savernake Hospital, Wiltshire. From there I went on to do my training. My first job on qualification was at St Thomas’ Hospital (general medical).
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I’m quite introverted, so prefer to avoid being the centre of attention.
From whom have you learnt most from in your career?
Sister Mary Payne whom I worked with at Savernake Hospital and Professor Chris Fowler who is a urologist. Both have shown I could do more than I thought and have given me amazing opportunities.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
It’s a tough job so work hard; have a sense of humour; try to be the best you can be; and treat everyone as you’d like your closest relative to be treated.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Clinically - it’s a patient being able to re-engage with their partner. Academically, it’s when you know that someone has fully understood what you are teaching them.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Making a difference to patients
Get cross-party agreement on what is important in healthcare and have a vision that lasts for more than one political term
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
I think the traditional adult/child/mental health/learning disability nurse education will move to a more generic one. There is a huge need to provide physical care in mental health; mental health care is needed in adult nursing; and in primary care about half the patients will be children, so I think an adjustment to how we educate/train will be introduced.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I’d like to fly professionally (it’s an expensive hobby).
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Probably this one, provided I can continue to do clinical work and research, I’d be happy.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
Someone who is thoughtful; considerate; compassionate; has a good sense of humour; and who can appropriately challenge colleagues so that only the best care is given to the person they are caring for.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Make it apolitical - or rather get cross-party agreement on what is important in healthcare, and have a vision that lasts for more than one political term.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Family, reading, cycling (and flying).
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Professor Brian Cox - I find physics amazing.