We talk to the part-time clinical research fellow in nursing at the National Heart and Lung Institute, the Royal Brompton Hospital and Imperial college London.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
As a child I found a book in the library about Gladys Aylward, which I read and reread. Miss Aylward funded her own passage to China in the 1930s and devoted her life to improving the lot of orphaned children, risking her life. I was inspired and knew if I was to achieve anything in my life it would be to in some way positively influence the lives of others. I went on to train as a midwife and health visitor and experienced nursing in war zones.
Where did you train?
What was your first job in nursing?
A short stint in ophthalmology - a challenge to myself to overcome an irrational aversion to handling donor eyes.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Self-criticism - it makes me less time efficient and too intent on detail.
From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?
Find a good mentor - someone to inspire and support you - who can be a critical friend for your professional life
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Find a good mentor - someone to inspire and support you - who can be a critical friend for your professional life.
What keeps you awake at night?
At the moment data analysis and writing papers.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Making an understated positive difference in the lives of my patients and their families.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Being awarded an NIHR doctoral fellowship.
What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
When I first left school I studied Russian, so perhaps a linguist.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
Continuing to integrate clinical and academic work with teaching and be leading a small team of nurses developing a high-quality programme of research.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
Someone who takes pleasure in, and cares about, making a positive difference to the patient experience through hard work, critical thinking and application.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Strengthen the infrastructure and support systems to enable healthcare professionals to fully use their skills doing what they are trained to do, thereby improving access and streamlining care for patients.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Weekend? What’s that?
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
David Sedaris - for his humorous stories on the absurdities in human life.Laughter is therapeutic.