I decided to become a nurse after a spell in hospital, where I was impressed with the caring and friendly attitude of the nurses there. I’ve had a rewarding and fulfilling career, ever since I began nurse training in 1979 at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. I’ve been fortunate to work in haematology, orthopaedics and as Nurse Manager of the National Spinal Injuries Unit. I subsequently worked in nurse education before returning to nurse management.
My current role is based in the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS) in National Services Scotland (NSS). I’m responsible for the Transfusion team and their service, working to ensure that blood transfusion is safe and effectively managed. I professionally lead the Tissues, Cells and Advanced Therapeutics (TCAT) nursing team who are involved in collecting bone donations from patients having hip joint replacements, for use in paediatric surgery, as well as collecting heart valves and other tissues from deceased donors which can significantly improve the quality of life for recipients. I also lead the clinical apheresis nursing team who do plasma exchange and stem cell collection in hospitals across Scotland. In some emergency situations, plasma exchange can be lifesaving and it can also significantly improve the patient’s medical condition in other situations. Stem cell collection plays an important part in the treatment for patients with leukaemia and other serious conditions.
With the onset of COVID-19, nurses in all three of these SNBTS teams have been involved in the response as part of the wider NHS, providing cover for essential clinical areas, education for those returning to the nursing and medical registers, and being involved in collecting convalescent plasma as a trial treatment for COVID- 19.
As a head of nursing in SNBTS I have found contributing to the systems, policies and frameworks that allow nurses to provide the highest quality care as satisfying as I have working in direct care roles. To those wanting to become a nurse, I’d say: “Take that first step – be prepared to work hard, take any opportunities that come your way and be confident that nursing is the greatest job in the world.”
SNBTS has some interesting and varied nursing roles and we are a great place to work as a nurse, so come and join us!