I wanted to become a nurse from a young age and volunteered on a variety of projects to gain experience, although, at the same time, I had an interest in teaching. Nursing won!
I started my nursing career in Hampshire, and when I graduated, I was fortunate to win the Silver Buckle, Nurse of the Year award. When I commenced my first Staff Nurse post on a surgical ward, I met a Nurse Careers Advisor who advised me to develop a special interest alongside learning more about the speciality I was working in.
This advice enabled me to develop my interest in teaching; I mentored student and junior nurses, and at the same time, I grew as a Registered Nurse. After two years, I moved to London to work on an acute and challenging renal transplant ward, before returning to general surgery.
I loved living and working in London; it's a wonderful, vibrant and diverse city. However, I also wanted to travel, so I spent four years working as a nurse in the US — in Florida, Arizona and California.
My specialities at the time were cardiac, respiratory and critical care. However, I really missed London and working as a nurse in England. Therefore, I was very excited to get a job at the Royal Brompton Hospital when I moved back to the UK. I thought I'd only be here for two years...but I was promoted and seconded to the Nursing Development and Education team. This role gave me a fantastic opportunity to realise my career aspirations — to be a senior nurse and teach and develop others.
I am now working full time in the Nursing Development and Education team. As my career has evolved, I've taken on a huge range of projects and achieved many goals, including my Master's in Clinical Education, for which I achieved a distinction. My fascination with learning and teaching in clinical practice led to me launching a national network for Clinical Nurse Educators in 2014, which I continue to chair.
I'm so proud that we now have over 900 members and have played a major role in shaping national nurse education standards. We've connected and raised the profile of nurse educators from all over the UK. I’ve written and reviewed a wide range of articles for national publications and have been featured in a video promoting the role of the Clinical Nurse Educator as part of a national careers initiative led by the Royal College of Nursing and Health Education England.
Nursing opens so many career doors in the UK and worldwide, and we never stop learning. However, no matter how senior you become, I firmly believe that the fundamentals of care underpin everything. People often at the most vulnerable times in their lives put their trust in us.
What gets me out of bed in the morning? To play a part in and leave my mark on leading, supporting and developing the nursing workforce to deliver evidence-based, patient-centred, high quality and compassionate care.