Continuing our year-long campaign to recognise our nursing staff, here Lorna Boyne tells us about her career to date including her current role as a nurse consultant in Travel and International Health where she is supporting the national COVID-19 response alongside colleagues in NSS.
"My older sister was a nurse and I loved listening to her stories about what had happened every day at work. It made me realise that it was a really interesting job, that you would meet people from all walks of life and be able to help them. I would also hear about the camaraderie among the nursing staff and other members of the team and being part of that really appealed to me. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I would be cut out for it as I’m rather squeamish, but I knew from my first day working on a busy ward that it was for me, and very quickly forgot about being squeamish.
"I went to Monklands School of Nursing and Midwifery, where I qualified in 1988. I undertook ‘modular’ training, before nursing degrees were introduced. This gave me an excellent practical basis for my future nursing career. I then completed an MSc in Nursing at the University of Glasgow while working full time in a busy intensive care unit (ITU). It was challenging as I had to balance both my job and studies at the same time, but very rewarding as I was achieving my dreams.
"Through my nursing career, I’ve worked in a wide range of settings. My first staff nurse post was in a general surgical ITU in Lanarkshire. I then went to work in Canada for 18 months and worked in both neurosurgical and cardiovascular ITUs in Toronto. After that period, I returned to Scotland where I worked in a national neurosurgical ITU.
"After that I had a complete change in my career and joined what was the Communicable Disease Scotland Unit, now Health Protection Scotland (HPS), as part of the Travel Health team. I had no idea I would still be here 26 years later!
"In HPS I am a Nurse Consultant for the Travel and International Health team. Our main remit is to protect the Scottish people from travel associated health risks and to limit the wider public health impact of imported infections. We do this in a variety of ways including providing advice and guidance, mainly through TRAVAX and fitfortravel websites, but also through publications. Our team are also responsible for delivering the Scottish yellow fever vaccination programme through supporting the yellow fever centres. We help HPS and NSS in its response to emerging infections and infectious diseases of high consequence, for example, we are currently supporting the response to the National Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
"Most of my time is spent on the development, updating and provision of clinical advice and while I no longer have direct contact with patients I support those who do.
"For those thinking of becoming a nurse, I would say there is an area of nursing for everybody. The NHS is going through a very challenging period and we need new people seeking opportunity, just as I did 36 years ago!"