We talk to Gill Findley, director of Nursing for North Durham and Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield clinical commissioning groups, who has been a nurse for 26 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wanted to work with children and I knew I wanted to be in a care environment.
Where did you train?
Great Ormond Street Hospital.
What was your first job in nursing?
Staff nurse on a neurosurgical paediatric ward at GOSH.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I hate leaving things incomplete. I really have to work at keeping this in check otherwise I run round like an idiot and irritate everyone else in the process.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
Difficult one – I learned about patience and compassion from my first ward sister and a manager challenged me in such a positive way I would have done anything for her. But I guess I learned most from my patients. I learned children can bounce back from the most tragic circumstances to be happy adults if we just give them a chance.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Take every opportunity that presents itself.
Children can bounce back from the most tragic circumstances to be happy adults if we just give them a chance
What keeps you awake at night?
How do we support staff in isolated roles? How do I know that all my patients are getting the best care possible? How can I help?
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Hearing from patients that services are working for them and spending time talking to patients and carers.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Setting up the children’s home care and day care service in Durham, the first children’s community nursing team in the north east.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
More technological solutions will support staff and hopefully allow nurses the time to get back to the bedside.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I thought I might be a teacher, but having spent some time in the classroom as a school governor I know now I don’t have the right skillset. Then I thought I would be a driving instructor, but sitting in the car with my teenager daughter completely put me off that idea. Perhaps it’s a good job I opted for nursing.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
It would have to be the one I am doing now – I love it!
What do you think makes a good nurse?
Patience, compassion and good communication skills.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I would make the whole system much less complicated; it’s way too confusing.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Time with my family, a nice long walk in the countryside and then settling down to make some jewellery or do some of my craft work. Oh, and there would be a nice cream tea with scones and clotted cream.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Charles Darwin. I’d like to ask what it was like to challenge the orthodox view of the world with such revolutionary ideas.