We talk to Karen Jordan, senior nurse practitioner, substance misuse and wellbeing, at Spectrum Community Health CIC, who has been a nurse for 35 years.
Why did you become a nurse?
I wanted to be a nurse from the age of 11, when I was admitted to hospital. As soon as I could, I helped the nurses and knew instantly this was a real passion and what I wanted to do.
Where did you train?
Pinderfield’s General Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
What was your first job?
Elderly care medicine.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
My inability to grasp anything to do with computers. I know that it’s necessary but I’m a people person.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
Way back in training, I learnt a lot from an enrolled nurse, who was everything a nurse should be. From her bedside manner to how she was with relatives and colleagues, she never faltered. She was special to everyone. True, inspirational people should stay with you forever and I still think and model myself on her now.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Be clear about your motivation for going into the profession - you can call upon this throughout your working day. Never stop asking or learning and never give up.
What keeps you awake at night?
My frustrations. Knowing that the vulnerable adults we support are sleeping on the streets and have nowhere to keep warm or get food.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Seeing service users make positive changes and progress - this has a massive impact on them and a rippling effect on family and the community. Also seeing my team make a difference, and seeing their motivation and potential grow.
What’s your proudest achievement?
In 2011, I led my team to win a Royal College of Nursing Frontline First Innovation Award. This was for the work that I did in upskilling my team to deal with wound care and, in particular, how we empowered service users with chronic ulcers to manage and care for their own wounds.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I’d have a nice little flower shop and spend my days as a florist.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
This one, with a bigger team so we can support and help more people.
What makes a good nurse?
Aside from caring and personable qualities, nurses should be able to think innovatively and consider new ways of working to deliver the very best care and patient outcomes.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
I’d enable more frontline staff to have their say. I’ve seen the benefits of a flatter management structure and a hands-on team. I’d also try to ensure patients’ voices are heard and they get more involved in their choice of healthcare.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Entertaining family, ideally at a music festival such as Glastonbury - in fact anything that involves lots of fresh air.