To be a nurse

It is an emotional and challenging time for nursing and nurses right now. There is a lot to celebrate and a lot to do. This post was an email from May 2018 to mark International Nurses Day. 

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Never usually a big thing in the UK - or not so I noticed - International Nurses Day is acknowledged and celebrated in New Zealand and this year was certainly no exception. 

For 26 years I have called myself a nurse and it is who I am. I now stand on what might be considered the dark side as a manager, though I would call myself a nurse leader. In the past I often thought one of our challenges as a profession is to be able to clearly define 'what is a nurse' and what do we do. The fact that there are so many possible answers to that question is now to me a reason to celebrate. My own career has touched on so many points, with so many experiences and I really have only had a taster of all that nursing can be.

I recall the team I worked with when I started as a health care assistant and the number of teams, wards, hospitals and services since that time all those years ago. The wonder and privilege I encountered on that first ward and the moment I realised I had found what I was going to do for the rest of my life. To be there for those who had no-one. To provide care needed at the right time, in the right way and with dignity and compassion. 

I have had the honour of working alongside some outstanding nurses who have inspired, supported, taught, led and coached me. To those who still do and to those that will do so in the future. I thank you all. 

As I spoke to some nurses on Friday with honesty about the challenges of nursing right now, I said I believe we are in the best job in the world and I believe together we can make it better. What drives me now is to improve the way it feels to work in healthcare. 

Nurses are leaders every day and in every job we do. Nursing needs to sit at the table to help drive the changes needed in healthcare and we do not need to wait for an invitation. 

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