Why I Became a Nurse – Samantha Cliffe, Lead Nurse for Cardiac Nuclear Medicine and the Diagnostic Centre

I was first interested in becoming a nurse when I was a patient myself at around 14 years of age. A nurse who looked after me at that time inspired me, and I still remember her name: Becky. She was kind, attentive, and confident, and Becky made me feel safe. I also liked the hospital environment, it was clean and organised, and I liked the smell of the cleaning products.Samantha Cliffe Portrait

After I left school, whilst continuing my studies in an access to healthcare course, I worked in a nursing home. I enjoyed working there; I loved making the residents feel their best by getting them ready each day, brushing their hair and putting lipstick and perfume on the ladies. I enjoyed taking them on trips to the park or the garden or buying them ice creams. It was the simple things that cheered them up. I worked with a great team of caring professionals. I learned a lot from them and enjoyed working as part of a team. I knew after working there that I wanted to be a nurse and work in a hospital. 

While still studying, I pursued signing up to work bank shifts as a healthcare support worker at my local district hospital. I worked mainly on a busy acute medical ward, and I loved it. It was exactly where I wanted to be, in a hospital. I took care of patients and carried out what I saw as crucial tasks for good patient care. The ward sister was brilliant. She had a lot of attributes that made her an excellent nurse and leader. A great role model, she further inspired me to pursue a career in nursing. The team camaraderie was inclusive and open, with some great individual communicators. Being a part of this team encouraged my desire to be a nurse.

In 1998, after finishing my studies, I applied for my nurse training, Project 2000 in Greenwich. I felt anxious during the interview, and even more so, waiting to see if I would be offered a place. It meant a lot to me; securing a place was my only goal. I vividly remember the day the letter came through to confirm my place. I couldn't open the letter straight away; I was too nervous. When I opened it, I was ecstatic by the offer of a place, and it is one of my happiest memories to this day. I haven't had a single regret since.