We talk to Sonia Page, lecturer in adult nursing and senior research fellow at Canterbury Christ Church University, who has been nursing since 1988.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
Something about hospitals hooked me as a child during admissions for minor ailments. I loved the sound and vibe of the clinical setting and I was inspired by the nurses caring for me.
Where did you train?
At the South East Kent School of Nursing, then located at the William Harvey Hospital and now replaced by the nursing programme at Canterbury Christ Church University.
What was your first job in nursing?
As a staff nurse on the GP unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Kent. The unit provided an assessment and respite ward to which GPs could refer patients requiring semi-acute or terminal care, as an alternative to the acute hospital.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I feel the need to be prepared for things weeks in advance, which drives my family mad.
Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career?
My ward sister, Marion Hoare, taught me to keep the patient central to every decision and action, particularly when responsibility and pressure threaten to distract.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Work hard to retain your own character and be prepared to fight to care, given the pressures of working in the healthcare environment.
I would like to change the expectation that nurses just “can” and “will” simply because they “always have”
What keeps you awake?
Nightmares that I’ve turned up to teach a subject I know nothing about.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
As a nurse-lecturer, it’s witnessing students’ journeys from novice to newly qualified practitioner. As a researcher, it’s being involved in research (singing for health) that directly benefits patients’ quality of life.
What’s your proudest achievement?
There are two things: the first is caring for those I’ve nursed at the end of their life; and the second is enabling people living with COPD in Folkestone to form and run their own singing-for-health choir.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
External changes within healthcare will necessitate further development of the nursing role and acquisition of new skills and specialties. Registration of healthcare assistants will positively change the public and professional perception of this vital role and encourage its development.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
Definitely joined the navy.
What makes a good nurse?
Someone who is prepared to care and go the extra mile for their patients and colleagues, and who can leave work behind when off duty.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
The expectation that nurses just “can” and “will” simply because they “always have”.
What’s your ideal weekend?
Campervan, bicycles, family, sunshine.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
My great aunt, sadly no longer with us, who was a member of the Belgian resistance in the Second World War. When I knew her I was too young to appreciate what she had lived through.