We talk to Sheila Kasaven, matron at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, who has been a nurse for
Why did you become a nurse?
I come from a family of nurses and I did try to rebel - by joining the army. However, after wearing green every day and feeling unfulfilled, I changed my mind. I had always enjoyed caring for people and I spent some time as a nursing assistant in a nursing home. I found that helping people and listening to their stories made me feel fulfilled. I knew that this was what I was meant to do and this passion drove me to apply for nurse training.
Where did you train?
I trained at St James University Hospital in Leeds.
What was your first job in nursing?
My first job in nursing was as a nursing assistant, working with older people with mental health needs. It was challenging but rewarding if you could make a patient’s day more comfortable. My first job as a qualified nurse was at a new inpatient unit for adult acute patients in Rugby.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Taking work home with me… for the same reasons as most of your readers.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
I learnt caring skills from my mum. She was a caring person and brought me up to always be aware of other people’s feelings.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Only go into nursing if you have a real passion for it and truly wish to make a difference to the lives of patients.
What keeps you awake?
The fear that the X-Factor will be axed!
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Feeling like my work has made a difference to the lives of patients and staff.
What is your proudest achievement?
I’ve had a really great few months. Our trust was recently named the safest in the North West according to the NHS Safety Thermometer. I served as acting head of nursing, which helped me to stretch myself and showed that I can support other services.
Only go into nursing if you have a real passion for it and truly wish to make a difference to the lives of patients
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
I’m hoping that the 6Cs embeds the Compassion in Practice strategy for nurses and bring the focus back to making time for patients. We need staff with the right skills in the right positions and to reduce bureaucracy.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
If I’d stayed in the army I would have become a signals engineer.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
My aim is to become a lead nurse or head of nursing as I enjoyed the extra responsibility when I acted up in that position.
What makes a good nurse?
Passion, commitment, patience, a good sense of humour and a robust bladder to deal with the lack of time for breaks.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I would like to get rid of PFI buildings so that patients and nurses can have more ownership of their environment.
What is your ideal weekend?
Sleeping in, walking the dog and finishing all the painting jobs in my house.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Lady Gaga - she is so different. It is brilliant to be different.