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!