We talk to Pauline Evans, registered care manager at Blind Veterans UK’s Llandudno centre, who has been a nurse for 33 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I always wanted to join the RAF but could only do so if I was a nurse because of the height restrictions. So I did my training and then started work after getting married and having a child.
Where did you train?
Birkenhead School of Nursing.
What was your first job in nursing?
Staff nurse on the orthopaedic ward at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Apart from when I’m with patients, I’m not very tolerant. I don’t suffer fools gladly.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
The people I’ve cared for. They’ve taught me compassion, tolerance, good communication and patience.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Remember that nursing is a vocation, it’s not just a job. You need to really want to do it and commit to it. It’s hard work, but very rewarding.
What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing, I love my bed.
Nursing is a vocation, not just a job. You need to really want to do it and commit to it. It’s hard work, but very rewarding
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing the nursing staff happy in their jobs and being able to provide such a high standard of care to our veterans. It’s a wonderful place to work.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Getting this job. I’ve been here since the centre opened in 2011 and we’ve set up the department and built it into what it is today. When I see it now and all that we’ve achieved, I feel very proud.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
The amount of technology we have - we need to be careful that technology doesn’t replace the compassion and care of humans.
Tell us about Blind Veterans UK
Blind Veterans UK is the national charity for blind and vision-impaired ex-service men and women. The charity provides practical and emotional support to veterans, no matter when they served or how they lost their sight. As well as the Llandudno centre, the charity has centres in Brighton and Sheffield, and a network of welfare officers around the UK to provide support in veterans’ homes. Through the No One Alone campaign, the charity is reaching out to the tens of thousands of blind and vision-impaired veterans who could be eligible for support, but don’t realise it.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I’d have been a lawyer.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
This one. Definitely.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
Good communication, compassion, a caring nature and patience.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
There’d be more nurses nursing, rather than managers.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Time with my husband, family, dogs and cats - and lots of sun.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Sir Ranulph Fiennes - I find his life fascinating.