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'I think the ability to communicate makes a good nurse. '

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We talk to Nick Birchall, paediatric nurse at the University Hospital of North Midlands/Royal Stoke, who has been a nurse for just over two and a half years.

Nick Birchall

Why did you become a nurse?

I’d always enjoyed working with children whether it be teaching swimming lessons, football coaching or while I worked in a primary school while doing my A levels, so it felt like a natural progression.

Where did you train?

I trained at Keele University, graduating in 2012.

What was your first job in nursing?

My current job.

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

I don’t always know how to react to praise in my job. Doing a good job is expected so when you receive praise/attention from families or staff, I often get embarrassed by it.

From whom have you learnt the most in your career?

I have learnt a lot from a number of people but, if I had to pick one, it would be a senior staff nurse called Dave Booth who I work with. He’s great to learn from and is a great bloke. He retires at the end of the year and I will be sad to see him go.

You can have all the knowledge in the world but, if you can’t communicate with children and families, you will struggle

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

To enjoy it and to gain as much experience as possible

What keeps you awake at night?

At the moment, the heat - not that I’m complaining about the sun.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Seeing a child get better, especially when the child has been very unwell and you have got to know the family. I enjoy the continuation of care when patients are admitted to when they are discharged.

What’s your proudest achievement?


What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?

I can see nursing moving more into the community. The local community team has expanded so much in the past two years and I can only see it expanding even more.

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

Footballer for Manchester United!

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

I’m not sure. As long as I’m happy and enjoying it.

What makes a good nurse?

I think the ability to communicate makes a good nurse. You can have all the knowledge in the world but, if you can’t communicate with children and families, you will struggle in children’s nursing.

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

I would like to see nurses and staff on the ground having a greater say in what changes are made for healthcare. I feel that too many decisions are made by politicians or people who have little or no idea of what it’s like to work in healthcare

What would your ideal weekend involve?

A Manchester United win, a night out with friends, some guitar playing, a big Sunday lunch and a walk in the sun with my dog.

If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?

As someone who plays guitar, it would have to be John Mayer. I like how he can experiment with different genres yet maintain the same level of skill and ability as a guitarist.



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