Happy International Nurses Day

Calcutta Rescue Fund Street Clinic 1993

Street Clinic, Calcutta Rescue Fund 1993

International Nurses Day seems a very fitting day to launch our new blog! Here I look back to my nursing roots and celebrate all nurses in the UK and beyond

Like many others, I’ve experienced a variety of emotions during lockdown (love the new phrase‘corona-coaster) but I’ve also had fair few moments of quiet reflection.

So, as today is International Nurses Day, I am indulging myself and taking a wee wander down memory lane. Despite no longer working on the wards or being on the NMC register, nursing per se is intrinsic to my soul; inside there’s a part of me will always be a nurse. And I don’t want that to change. The values that led me into nursing: being caring, authentic and compassionate and wanting to make a difference did not disappear when I metaphorically hung up my uniform. No, these are values I take with me as I wander through Life.

Finding my path

Like the Beatles song, my path has been a ‘Long and Winding Road.’ Throughout my life, I’ve never taken a linear path.. I tend to take the ‘off-piste’ one – this is where both the joy and the learning lies for me.

After leaving school, I first went to study maths at Southampton University. And whilst I still love numbers & mathematical logic, the environment I found myself in was just not for me. I can jest now, but as a teenager I was lost and confused. I knew this wasn’t for me but I wasn’t someone who gave up on things.. But after a lot of soul searching that’s just what I did. I won’t pretend it was easy but after a period of R&R I took my first steps on a new and exciting path: in May 1990 I began my adult nurse training at North Lothian College of Nursing Edinburgh.

I loved my time as a student nurse. I look back so fondly to those 3 years. But as the end of my training approached, I knew I needed a wee adventure before settling into life as a Staff Nurse. So, in Sept 1993 as a newly qualified RGN (and somewhat wet behind the ears) I landed in Calcutta to spend a month nursing in street clinics for Calcutta Rescue Fund. And what an eye-opening adventure that was. The monsoon ridden streets were a far cry from the sterile hospital environments I had just left. I guess it was here that I learnt to adapt to the situation I am in.. a lesson I now live by. 

The adventure continues

This spirit of adventure has followed me throughout my career. I’ve spent many happy years nursing in HIV, oncology & haematology and worked with some amazing nurses, health care assistants, doctors and other healthcare professionals. In 2005 I left the NHS to move into the voluntary sector where I spent 10 years in a variety of specialist nurse and healthcare writing roles.  Every post I have had has given me opportunity to learn – both about the medical and nursing field but also about myself. I guess I have found that learning and adventure go hand in hand.

In 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie Bloe. Little did I know that the ad-hoc work I started doing with him would pave the way to the biggest adventure of my life so far: that of lead the CBT training team. I’ve not run a business before so, I’m viewing this as a long-distance journey. But I’m determined to pave the way in a caring and authentic way. As well as delivering clinically excellent training, we passionately promote dignified and compassionate care. Always. By doing this I believe the CBT team can positively impact on the care that patients, residents, service users all receive. And this takes me full circle.. this is why I chose the path of nursing.

Thanks for reading!

Mandy

One thought on “Happy International Nurses Day

  1. Alastair Robertson says:

    Thank you for the insight to your journey this far. I’m looking forward to hearing more in your blog about being on the streets of Calcutta. When we feel overwhelmed by the thought of another day locked up at home, I’m sure you could change our perspectives with a sharing of your experiences and help us to recognise that here, things are not so bad. Happy international nurses day to you and all that have dedicated their lives for the benefit of others.

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