We talk to Laura Hainsworth, mental health nurse and student nurse in specialist community public health (school nursing branch), who has been a nurse for five and a half years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I had a desire to work with people and make a positive impact on people’s lives.
Where did you train?
Oxford Brookes University.
What was your first job in nursing?
I was a staff nurse on a mental health inpatient unit for adults of working age.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
My lack of assertiveness means that I find it difficult to speak up when difficult situations arise. As a result of that I tend to shy away from conflict.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
I have learned the most from the patients I worked with as a young and impressionable student nurse. These were the people who allowed me such valuable insight into what a qualified nurse should do, what a qualified nurse should be, and what a qualified nurse should aspire to.
“There will be peaks and many troughs but the reward of seeing patients get well and be discharged home will be worth it”
What advice would you give someone starting out?
There will be peaks and many troughs but, in the long term, the reward of seeing patients get well and subsequently be discharged home will be more than worth it.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying about the jobs I have yet to complete, the telephone calls I didn’t get round to making, and the patients I didn’t have enough time for. There are not enough hours in the day!
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Without a doubt, it has to be when someone simply says: “Thank your for listening”. There really is no better feeling than the one this gives me.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Getting a place at university so that I could study for my second degree - this time in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
I think there will be a far greater focus on preventative healthcare and health promotion, as opposed to reactive healthcare.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I probably would have trained to become a secondary school teacher.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
By that time I very much hope that specialist community public health nursing will have become a seamless 0-19 service. As for me, specifically, I would like to be working as a school nurse.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
I think the most fundamental skills - not practical - are the ones that make the best nurses. These include compassion, patience and being a good listener.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
Improving waiting lists for specialist services.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
A city break somewhere warm.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Jo Brand. I’d enjoy listening to her comedic take on her tales of psychiatric nursing.