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60 SECONDS

'Don’t be afraid to challenge if you feel something isn’t right'

  • 7 Comments

We talk to Gwen Moulster, consultant nurse at Haringey Learning Disabilities Partnership, who has been a nurse for 35 years.

Why did you become a nurse?

I was a volunteer at a large hospital for 2,500 people with learning disabilities. I met many interesting and wonderful people, and missed college to spend more time with them. The ward sister suggested I meet one of the senior nurses and that was it. I signed up that day and have never regretted it.

Where did you train?

The Manor Hospital, Epsom, as a nurse, and West London Institute of Higher Education as a community nurse.

What was your first job?

Staff nurse on a ward for 24 children with learning disabilities at Manor Hospital.

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

I tend to talk too much. While this is a sign of my motivation, I would like to be more succinct and hold back a bit to ensure others can fully contribute too.

From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?

I learnt what it means to really care from the truly inspirational Sister Pat Barnes, senior nurse at Leavesden Hospital. People with learning disabilities and their families have taught me about the importance of rights, choice, dignity and respect.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Don’t be afraid to challenge if you feel something isn’t right. Keep yourself fresh by doing different things. Seek help and advice and learn from others’ experiences. Always remember why you became a nurse.

What keeps you awake?

I worry about how changes in the NHS and social care will affect people with learning disabilities and their families. I fear they will have fewer choices and less control over their lives. For such a disempowered group, this could be disastrous.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Direct contact with people with learning disabilities and their families reminds me why what I do and how I do it matters.

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

Care at home will change the type of interventions done in the community, and nurses will have to be autonomous and more robust support systems will be needed. Hospital nurses will need sophisticated skills and to be confident in using new medical technologies.

What makes a good nurse?

The best nurses I know are caring, compassionate, empathetic, enthusiastic, motivated, innovative, creative, evidence based and reflective.

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

Better communication in every direction, with people who use services, families, colleagues, commissioners and others.

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

Maya Angelou, poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, film maker and civil rights activist. She said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • 'Don’t be afraid to challenge if you feel something isn’t right.'

    I wish more people would write that advice, in general.

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  • tinkerbell

    Managers of our units should be telling staff this as a matter of fact, regularly, rather than having it come from on high. We should be rallying for our managers to be more proactive than reactive all the time. CEO's of trusts should be telling their managers this, the managers of the managers should be telling the lower ranks to reinforce it at every level, then we might see some positive change for the patients and workforce in healthcare. Otherwise it all remains lip service.

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  • michael stone

    Tinkerbell, just for once I posted my first comment anonymously - is it 'Don’t be afraid to challenge if you feel something isn’t right.' that you think 'Managers of our units should be telling staff this as a matter of fact, regularly' or were you supporting the piece as a whole (I agree with it, as a whole, but I don't understand why things like 'The best nurses I know are caring, compassionate, empathetic, enthusiastic, motivated, innovative, creative, evidence based and reflective.' aren't bloody obvious to everyone !).

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  • michael stone | 18-Feb-2012 11:05 am

    please don't swear!

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  • michael stone

    µ | 18-Feb-2012 11:33 am

    Not sure where I swore in there - if 'isn't that bloody obvious !' upsets you, you had best avoid the NT 'site !

    That is called 'stressing a point for effect. Something the NT 'site makes difficult, as one cannot employ bold text to draw attention to particular parts of a post.

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  • michael stone | 18-Feb-2012 2:50 pm

    https://www.nursingtimes.net/terms-and-conditions/

    "Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions."

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  • michael stone | 19-Feb-2012 12:20 pm

    the moderator does not read all the comments. It says so in the terms and conditions!

    if you wish to ask a question or draw their attention to a comment you need to click on the link below each comment and communicate them there or else e-mail them.

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