We talk to Angela Tod, professor of health and social care research at the Centre for Health and Social Care Research at Sheffield Hallam University, who qualified in 1985.
Why did you become a nurse?
I worked as a nursing auxiliary during the summer holiday before my final year at university. I did combined arts – history, ancient history and history of art – at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. I was lucky enough to work with a great nursing team. I realised how rewarding it could be to deliver good-quality care and be part of a team pulling together. I also loved to talk to patients and hear about their histories and experiences.
Where did you train?
Sheffield School of Nursing.
What was your first job in nursing?
I worked in my then dream job, as a staff nurse on the coronary care unit at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. It was probably one of the most rewarding jobs I have ever had.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Getting a bit cross when stressed.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career?
That’s a tricky one because I have worked with some great people. In terms of being an inspirational role model, I would have to say Maggie Cashell. Maggie was the senior sister on the coronary care unit when I first qualified and very patient centred. I also learnt a lot from her about management. I still find myself wondering what she would do when faced with a tricky situation. I must also mention Michael Macintosh who taught me everything I ever knew about electrocardiograms and not to take myself too seriously.
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Always keep the patient at the centre of what you do when developing and delivering care.
What keeps you awake at night?
The consequence of the Health and Social Care Act, which will see the NHS dismantled.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Being able to conduct research and see the results put into practice to benefit patients.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Becoming a professor and qualifying as a nurse. Outside work, it was probably getting to the top of two mountains in Nepal – Mera Peak (6,476m) and Tent Peak (5,600m), in 2002 and 2003 respectively.
What do you think will change nursing in the next decade?
The Health and Social Care Act.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I hope the one I am doing now.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I did apply to be a careers adviser as I thought that might help me work out what career I’d be good at. But, after enjoying working as a nursing auxiliary, I thought I’d give nursing a go.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Walking, climbing, a glass of wine or pint of beer and nice food – with great company.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Lots of famous people would be fascinating to talk to but I’d have to say my mum and dad. Both have been dead some years now but there are so many things I wish I’d asked them or talked to them about.