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60 seconds with...Michelle Mello, head of commissioning in the national nursing team at NHS England

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We talk to head of commissioning in the national nursing team at NHS England, who qualified in 1988.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

Honestly, I stumbled across it but it’s the best thing I ever did.

Where did you train?

The University of Hull and in surrounding hospital and community, mental health and maternity settings.

What was your first job in nursing?

Staff nurse on a gastro/haematology ward in Manchester.

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

I worry too much, it’s wasted emotional energy. I do mindfulness meditation, which really helps with this. It’s important to look after our minds and bodies.

From whom have you learnt the most in your career?

I’ve learnt most from some of the people I’ve had the pleasure to care for, especially when I practised as a diabetes specialist nurse. It taught me a lot about learning from people with diabetes themselves.

I’ve also worked with some outstanding nurses, care assistants and clinicians during my career, who have taught me so much about being professional, caring and compassionate. I recently saw it described as “beacon nurses”, the special ones who just seem to have it.

Look after your mind as well as your body; you’ve made a great choice to be a nurse and this is just the start of the journey

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Be open to try new experiences and challenges; never stop asking why or what if; believe in yourself, you really can do anything; always treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself; look after your mind as well as your body; you’ve made a great choice to be a nurse and this is just the start of the journey.

What keeps you awake at night?

Not much, I’m a good sleeper

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Connecting and supporting people.

What’s your proudest achievement?

My children. I have a daughter who is 21 and son aged 17.

What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

Increasing involvement, engagement and partnership with people who use health and care services, their families and communities. Technology will also continue to change how and what we do as nurses.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

Definitely something to do with people and developing others.

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

One that makes a difference to care and to the profession.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Competence and empathy underpinned with knowledge and compassion - a questioning mind, caring disposition and inner strength.

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

A stronger focus on health, wellbeing, and social determinants and not just illness.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

At the moment running and refuelling. I’m training for a half marathon.

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

Mary Seacole. I think she is a great role model and strong woman who overcame adversity to achieve her dream.


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