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'I decided I would be a better nurse than nun'

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We quiz the chief executive of Royal Bolton Hospital Foundation Trust Lesley Doherty, who has been a nurse for 35 years

Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I saw the film A Nun’s Story when I was seven years old. The main character was also a nurse - I decided I would be a better nurse than nun.

Where did you train?
Park Hospital Manchester (now Trafford General Hospital).

What was your first job in nursing?
As a student nurse, I was on a medical ward in a cottage hospital. My first job as a staff nurse was on a gynaecology ward in Wales. 

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Impatience. I find waiting can be frustrating, particularly when you want things to happen quickly.

From whom have you learnt the most in your nursing career and why?
Margaret Flatt, a nurse leader who encouraged me to be ambitious for my patients as well as myself. The other person is Sue McKenzie - for giving a maverick a chance.

What advice would you give someone starting out?
Never forget the motivation and values that brought you to the profession in the first place - if you are true to them you will always be true to your patients.

What keeps you awake?
My husband’s snoring.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Leading such a great group of people here in Bolton.

What’s your proudest achievement?
At work, it has to be the day I qualified - telling my mum all those years ago over the phone I had passed my nursing exams. At home it’s my two children - marvellous individuals.

What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
Patient expectations - we must meet that challenge.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
Probably gone on stage.

What job would you like to be doing in five years?
I have no idea - I’m too busy in this one just now.

What do you think makes a good nurse?
Never ever forgetting your patients are individuals, who have the same fears and expectations as you, are cared for and loved by others just as you are, and expect the same standard of care you would wish for yourself.

If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Respect for all who work in the NHS regardless of role - nurses, midwives, doctors, allied health professionals, cleaners, managers. No one group can work in isolation or has more right than another to make a difference to patient care.

What would your ideal weekend involve?
A large family party at my home - where they cook.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?
Dawn French. I suspect we have the same sense of humour.

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