When I left school I did a short course in psychology, which sparked my interest in how the mind works. This led me towards mental health nursing and when I qualified in 1987, I spent time working in forensic psychiatry which I thoroughly enjoyed. After completing the shortened general nursing programme, I quickly realised that my heart lay in emergency and intensive nursing. Emergency and intensive nursing was my focus until I decided to widen my horizons to teaching and more broadly to practice development.
Along the way I completed a BSc in Advanced Nursing, an MSc in Performance Psychology and most recently I completed the Scottish Coaching and Leading for Improvement Programme.
My role in NSS has evolved over the years from practice development to my present role as Associate Director of Nursing, Clinical Governance and Quality Improvement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge challenge to all our colleagues in nursing and those in other professions. In many ways it has demonstrated the thing I have valued most in nursing: our ability to adapt, overcome and work together, even in the most stressful and challenging situations. In emergency nursing you’re regularly required to operate in a rapidly changing environment much like our current situation. I find I work most effectively in a dynamic and changing environment - COVID-19 has certainly put the skills I’ve built up over the years in emergency care to good effect.
My role has changed along with many others during COVID-19, however as we move towards planning for the future I see immense opportunity to develop, using the lessons learned to grow as nurses and as an organisation.
To those aspiring nurses who want to see what you can give to and gain from our profession I would say just look around you and see how nurses have led, cared for and supported the country in the past weeks.
NSS is a great national organisation to contribute to as a nurse.
Ours is a profession to protect, care for and be proud of.