Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

60 seconds with Mandie Sunderland

'Laugh a lot as it can be bloody hard work'


We quiz the chief nurse at Heart of England Foundation Trust, Mandie Sunderland, who has been nursing for 25 years.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a little girl. This was reinforced by visits to the Naval Hospital in Plymouth where my father was a patient. I fell in love with that amazing uniform they used to wear.

Where did you train?

I trained at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London.

What was your first job in nursing?

My first staff nurse job was on Edith Cavell Ward, St Charles Hospital, London. It was a combined acute medical/critical care area.

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

I can be horribly impatient and then feel really guilty afterwards.

Whom have you learnt most from in your nursing career and why?

I have been lucky to work with so many amazing nurses. Early ward sisters still remain role models as do national nurse leaders such as Liz Fradd.

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

I would advise any new nurse to recognise their unique role - nursing is a privilege. You will observe the best and worst of people. Laugh a lot as it can be bloody hard work.

What keeps you awake at night?

As chief nurse my accountability centres on the delivery of high quality care. Sometimes we get that wrong and those circumstances can worry me.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

Positive feedback from patients and staff can make a bad day brilliant.

What is your proudest achievement?

Haven’t had it yet. (I hope.)

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

There are many external challenges with one of the greatest being public expectation. We are going to have to work hard to retain the respect and affection of the public.

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

I would have loved to do something in fashion, particularly something involving shoes.

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

I would be happy to remain as a chief nurse. It’s a privilege to lead your profession and this job is certainly never boring.

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Compassion, skill and a sense of humour. I also like our Heart of England “three Ps” - pride, passion and professionalism.

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

The constant political meddling and bureaucracy.

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Shopping, nice food and wine, and good company.

If you could spend an hour in someone’s company, who would it be and why?

George Clooney - I am very shallow.


Readers' comments (4)

  • what an insult to George Clooney

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I would expect somebody who calls herself 'chief nurse' would have a more dignified and professional title to her article

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why, Anonymous?

    We're nurses; we shouldn't go in for pretentious twaddle as a title to an article where someone is giving her personal opinions.

    In nursing we should get be educated but able to keep our feet on the ground.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Go Girl!!! l like your style, you come across as real and understand just what we are up against.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.