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'Don’t ever lose your sense of humour.'

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We talk to Ann Saunders, team manager of the Specialist Memory Service at Central and North West London Foundation Trust, who has been a nurse for 20 years.

ann saunders

ann saunders

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I think it was predestined or genetic. I come from a background of nurses including my parents, sisters, aunts and great grandfather. 

What was your first job in nursing?

When I qualified. I was offered a dual post of community psychiatric nurse, and staff nurse on an older adults inpatient ward.

Where did you train?

Milton Keynes.

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

Actually there is more than one person. The first is a manager with whom I worked in the inpatient unit for many years, and have the utmost respect for. She taught me a lot about patience, tolerance and is probably one of the kindest people I have worked with.  The second is our current deputy director, as she was my mentor years ago when I was a student nurse; she impressed me with how she connected with patients and staff. Her honesty and respect for others shone through and this has stayed with me.   

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

Don’t ever lose your sense of humour.

I work with a team who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. They inspire me with their ideas and innovations for patients in their care  

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Working with a team who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do. They inspire me with their ideas and innovations for their patients.  

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Compassion, respect and laughter. 

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

I must do things straight away because if I do not, I will continue to put things off. And then it becomes embarrassing that I have left it so long. 

What keeps you awake at night?

I have been known to sleep through thunderstorms, lightning and the telephone ringing. However, when I do wake, it is normally either due to a cold, my husband snoring or anything that worries my family.    

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

Employing extra administrators. 

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

I hope changes in the treatment of dementia will be discovered in the future.  

Your proudest achievement?

Obtaining a master’s degree.    

If you could spend an hour with a famous or notable person, who would it be and why?

Sir David Attenborough. I used to sit and watch him on the television with my father, so he reminds me of happy times. I love the sound of his voice and the way in which he opens up another world, revealing the creatures we live with.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Spending time gardening and being with family and friend gatherings, ideally eating outside. 

What would you like to be doing in five years?

Enjoying retirement.


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