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'If I hadn't have become a nurse I would have worked for MI5'

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Janice Sigsworth has been a nurse for 30 years and is now director of nursing and operations at Imperial College Healthcare Trust

Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wanted a job that brought together my love of, and interest in, people.

Where did you train?
Charing Cross Hospital in London.

What was your first job in nursing?
Staff nurse, respiratory medicine, Charing Cross - 5 West, an inspiring clinical environment that was a nursing development unit.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
There’s nothing I don’t like. I see things I could have done better and try to improve each day.

Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career and why?
There are too many to name but they include Angela Heslop, who helped me integrate evidence-based practice into care, always put the patient first, and explained nursing’s contribution. Christine Beasley was a mentor as my director of nursing in my early days as a sister and then my boss.

What advice would you give someone starting out?
Learn as much as you can, always put the patient’s welfare at the centre of everything you do and stand up for nursing.

What keeps you awake?
Unannounced visits from the Care and Quality Commission, and our ability to consistently deliver high-quality care and compassion.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Making a positive difference to patients’ and staff experiences.

What’s your proudest achievement?
I have had so many: becoming a ward sister, seeing many of my staff go on to be successful; getting the job at Imperial; improving patients’ care experience; at last year’s Nursing Times Awards the surgical team won the nursing and technology category; and our patient improvement plans iTrack system won a Patient Experience Network Award.

What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
Moving to a degree-entry profession; patient choice and voice; the economic downturn; a greater focus on outcomes bringing greater accountability.

Which would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I’d have worked for MI5.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?
A nursing leadership role.

What would you change in healthcare?
Get rid of bureaucracy, unnecessary paperwork and quangos; reduce variability in effectiveness, safety and experience for patients.

What would your ideal weekend involve?
Family, food, shopping and the Sunday papers.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
Mary Portas, queen of shops. I like her style, approach and drive for improvement.

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