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'I've always wanted to be a nurse, however I did also want to sing in a band'

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We speak to Deborah Murphy, directorate manager of specialist palliative care, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust; associate director, Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool; and lead nurse of the Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient, who qualified as a nurse in 1986.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, since the age of four.

Where did you train?

Arrowe Park Hospital, Wirral, Merseyside. I have a background in oncology, haematology, bone marrow transplantation and specialist palliative care.

What was your first job in nursing?

As a nurse on the oncology unit at Clatterbridge Hospital, Wirral.

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

Liking and eating too much chocolate, and being a perfectionist.

Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career?

Dame Gill Oliver who was my first ward manager at Clatterbridge Hospital.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

Aim high - don’t settle for second best.

What keeps you awake at night?

Too much chocolate. And the need to build capacity to sustain the work we have achieved to date.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Empowering others to make a difference at the bedside.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Becoming associate director of the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool and driving up the agenda for care of the dying on a national and international level.

What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

End of life care being a core element of pre-registration training.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a nurse. However, I did also want to sing in a band.

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

Working for MCPCIL four days a week and chief chocolate taster for a leading brand one day a week.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Having passion and compassion in equal measure.

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

Care of the dying to be the core business in our healthcare system. A good death should be the norm not the exception in our society.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Chocolates and a spa experience.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

Simon Cowell for the celebrity gossip and to expand my singing career.

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