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Nursing and football- not a match made in heaven

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After all the hype and speculation the World Cup is finally kicking off. What can nurses expect?

Well I suppose if you work in an A&E department, drunkenness and alcohol induced injuries. Some of us will miss out on some of the action – but it will be a month-long topic of conversation in nursing teams and with our patients.

I’ve organised the sexual health service’s sweepstake. It’s great for bringing the team together. We pay £2 each to draw one of the thirty-two countries out of a hat and in order to avoid accusations of ‘a fix’ I accept the last country left. To keep as many punters as possible involved for as long as possible there are cash prizes for the winners, runners-up, worst record over three games and the team that scores the fastest goal. Who can forget San Marino once taking the lead over England after just 8.3 seconds? – Everybody has a chance.

With England drawn to play their first two matches on a Friday and a Saturday evening, clinic staff wanting to watch England in action are luckier than their nursing colleagues who have to work unsocial hours – and we’ve all been there. I remember working and watching snatches of Italy winning the World Cup Final in 1982 on a colleague’s ghetto-blaster with a tiny television screen, far smaller than the screen on the back of an aeroplane seat. Strangely it’s one of the more memorable finals for me, perhaps because of the hardship of working through most of it and the pathetic view.

Indeed nursing has not been kind to me and my football. When I started nurse training I played centre back in a team that trained on Thursday evenings for Saturday afternoon matches. To have a chance of selection we had to attend training and the chances of getting shifts that enabled me to train and play seemed vanishingly low. The manager quickly got used to my unavailability and found another centre back. As I look back from my early fifties, I’ve a twinge of regret that I stopped playing the game that I love so early.

All of which is a reminder that nurses often find themselves making personal sacrifices in order to work. And I’m lucky enough to find that the drivers that got me enthusiastically out of bed in my first year of nursing still put an early-morning spring in my step. I continue to love my nursing career.

Returning to the sweepstake, I’ve been running these at work for a quarter of a century. The final ticket has always been an also-ran and I’ve never won a bean. This year, to teasing cries of ‘fix’ I’ve drawn five-times winners and twice runners-up Brazil, the most successful footballing nation on the planet.

Come Monday 12th July, cakes could be on me.

About the author

Martin Jones, Clinical Nurse Specialist HIV, East Sussex Downs & Weald.

Martin Jones has worked in sexual health and HIV since 1986 (and is the manager of Eastbourne Borough Youth FC Under-15s)

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