We quiz the chief nurse at Heart of England Foundation Trust, Mandie Sunderland, who has been nursing for 25 years.
More from: 'Top honours prove nurses drive change'
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.