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'Have the courage to speak up, ask questions and take pride in being a nurse.'

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We talk to Julie Hamilton, head of nursing for education, revalidation and regulation at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust (GSTT), who has been a nurse for 19 years


julie hamilton

julie hamilton

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

At one level, it was my love of science and human biology at school, but ultimately I was inspired by my first exposure to the NHS. When I was 15, my grandfather passed away, and I observed the care

and compassion the nurses showed him and my family. I knew then I wanted to become a nurse.

Where did you train?

Glasgow University.

What was your first job in nursing?

I was a staff nurse in a general surgical ward at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

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

I can be quite self-critical and, according to my kids, grumpy when they don’t let me rearrange their model hospital!

From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?

I’ve worked with lots of fantastic people but I must mention three: my practice development nurse in intensive care, who taught me that you can balance a successful career with a home life; my previous head of nursing, who inspired me to step out of my comfort zone; and the chief nurse at GSTT, who role-models effective clinical leadership and a focus on improving the patient’s experience.

I can be quite self-critical and, according to my kids, grumpy when they don’t let me rearrange their model hospital!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

Have the courage to speak up, ask questions – even if you think it’s a silly one – and take pride in being a nurse.

What keeps you awake at night?

Thinking about how I’m going to survive a triathlon in six weeks’ time, without having trained enough.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

I am very proud to be a nurse. I am motivated by playing a part in ensuring patients have a positive experience with us during their stay.

What’s your proudest achievement?

Being appointed to my current role.

What do you think is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

The introduction of revalidation, the development of a nursing associate role and the potential changes to funding of pre-registration training will all affect the profession.

Which job would you have done had you not become a nurse?

I’d probably be in the kitchen with hopes of being on MasterChef.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?

My aspiration is one day to become a chief nurse.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Showing compassion for others, acting with honesty and integrity, and having a good sense of humour.

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

More emphasis on sharing practice and innovation across the system.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Cycling in Richmond Park and spending the rest of the weekend with my husband and two kids – cooking, playing and just messing about.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be?

Bear Grylls… does he really have what it takes to survive all scenarios?



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Readers' comments (1)

  • Re the headline. Why wouldn't nurses do all of these things? What's the point if being a nurse if you don't?

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