We talk to Lynsey Ayers, a staff nurse for St Ann’s Hospice.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
After working at places such as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, in a meat factory and as a lifeguard in Cyprus, I decided I wanted a career. I became a healthcare assistant at The Christie, which gave me a taste for the medical profession.
Where did you train?
Salford University, starting aged 29.
What was your first job in nursing?
The MAUs at Trafford General, then Wythenshawe Hospital.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
I can be stubborn and headstrong at times.
From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?
Knowledge comes from fellow health professionals, but patients and relatives help shape you as a nurse and listening to them teaches you a lot.
I’m part of a great team at St Ann’s and have nothing but praise for the hospice. We deliver the care people deserve
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
Be fully committed and don’t do it for the money. Enjoy it and listen and see each patient as individuals.
What keeps you awake at night?
Night shifts and neighbours’ house parties.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Making a difference. It might only be something small like getting a daily paper for a patient to read but it can be a big deal to them. I’m part of a great team at St Ann’s and have nothing but praise for the hospice. We deliver the proper care people deserve, but might not get in some places because of the pressures elsewhere.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Qualifying and working in palliative care. I also climbed Machu Picchu and played Champions League football for Cypriot champions AEK.
What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Lack of money, resources and the uncertainty over the future of the NHS is a major concern. I think as a nurse I’ll always get work but I wonder what stress levels and staff shortages will be like and the impact on patient care.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
A caring, kind and compassionate nature and able to adapt to individual cases, plus a sense of humour and teamwork. It can be challenging emotionally at times and professionalism and communication skills are needed to read situations with patients and relatives.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
A nurse specialising in palliative care.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
More staff on wards so the health service can provide the one-to-one care we’re able to give here. The hospice concept is different because we’re about end of life care and symptom management.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Sunshine, alcohol, good food and company.
If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
Lots of people fascinate me, including Freddie Mercury, Simon Cowell, David Beckham, Susan Sarandon and the Queen.