We talk to Janet Kellett, Roald Dahl children’s epilepsy nurse specialist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, who has been a nurse for 32 years.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wanted to work in the caring profession to make a difference to people’s lives.
Where did you train?
I qualified in Halifax as a registered general nurse in 1986 and completed my registered sick children’s nurse training at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in 1988.
What was your first job in nursing?
My first RGN role was with the care of older people’s service in Halifax and my first RSCN role was as a staff nurse at a regional children’s cardiac intensive care unit at Leeds.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
Friends describe me as a workaholic, which is probably true; I have difficulty switching off from my role.
From whom have you learnt the most in your career?
The patients and their families have taught me the most - specifically to recognise the importance of emotional resilience, which changes depending on the stress to which they are subjected. This helps me champion their care.
Don’t be scared of change - nursing evolves constantly so you need to be able to go with the flow
What advice would you give someone starting out?
Not to be scared of change, as nursing evolves constantly; you need to go with the flow.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying whether I have remembered to link with everyone. I share a caseload of more than 600 patients with my colleague.
What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Supporting patients to take control of their own health needs and help them realise their full potential.
What’s your proudest achievement?
Completing a nursing degree later in my nursing career while working full time.
What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?
A greater priority will be placed on nurse involvement in counselling and life coaching skills; empowering families to manage their healthcare can lead to a healthier nation.
What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?
I had thought of becoming a police constable.
What job would you like to be doing in five years?
This one as it’s my dream job. Hopefully we’ll have a bigger team to share out the role and develop the service.
What do you think makes a good nurse?
A good nurse listens to patients and their families and comes up with innovative ways to support them within the boundaries of their role.
If you could change one thing in healthcare, what would it be?
This will be no surprise - it’s the amount of paperwork.
What would your ideal weekend involve?
Ideal weekends mean a spot of DIY as my husband and I did a self-build home, long walks with our two rescue dogs and a visit to our local pub.
If you could spend an hour with someone, who would it be?
Were he alive, Roald Dahl. I’d like to talk with him about how Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, set up in his memory, has created more than 50 Roald Dahl specialist children’s nurses.