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'He taught me how the impact of the human touch could make a difference'

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We talk to Yinglen Butt, deputy chief nurse (community) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust in London, who has been a nurse since 1979.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I wanted to emulate my mother and, having spent my formative years in a developing country, public health interested me.

Where did you train?

I started my training at Robert Morgan Vocational Technical Institute in Miami, then finished my general nurse training at Mayday Hospital in Croydon.

What was your first nursing job?

I worked as a licensed practical nurse in Miami.

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

I speak at the speed of light when I’m excited and important things can be missed.

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

One of my first patients - a 40-year old man with advanced Parkinson’s. He taught me the impact of the human touch and how it could make a difference to someone who lacked much hope.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Nursing is exciting; ask a lot, read a lot and never forget your patient is the one from whom you can learn most.

What keeps you awake at night?

Concerns if care has not been good enough.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Donning a uniform and being able to contribute to the physical care of an individual and see the positive difference that my contact makes to them.

Your proudest achievement?

The privilege of working with, and for, the chief nursing officer for England.

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

Quality care being the benchmark of nursing practice and clinicians considering whether they would find their care acceptable if they were the recipient.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

A flight attendant because I wanted to travel.

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

I love the job I am currently in as it brings together strategic and practical input into patient care, so something that allows me to contribute in the areas I am passionate about.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

An interest in meeting the needs of the whole person and an ability to deliver safe, quality care with every patient encounter.

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

That care delivery across our nation remains consistently of a high quality and national reports reflect this.

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

Queen Noor of Jordan. Thanks to my Grandma I had Middle Eastern affairs introduced to me at an early age and Queen Noor’s successful transition from being a Jordanian-American by birth to the wife of King Hussain fascinates me.

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