As nurses, we are not always good at looking at ourselves. We are too busy helping the next person or trying to wear lots of hats.
I didn’t always want to be a nurse. I didn’t play dress up as a little girl. I enjoyed the guides – my first hat. I didn’t really enjoy school much and when I left I knew that I wanted a job that wasn’t office based and was with people. I enjoyed talking to people. So it was off to college for a course in social care, experiencing life in all different placements ranging from a school for deaf children to care homes for older people! At college I met an inspirational lady who signposted me to nursing. I trained initially as a State Enrolled Nurse (SEN) – my 2nd hat – later going on to complete my Registered General Nurse training – my 3rd hat. I specialised in cardiology and ended up with a very lacy hat at an independent hospital as a senior sister! The more senior the more lace!
My passion for quality of care and older people saw me working for the nursing home inspectorate for the then local authority, leading to the National Care Standards Commission, the Healthcare Commission and the Care Quality Commission – a journey of many tales, experiences and hats (not all visible though). My career then took me to the private healthcare sector several times building business both in and out of the NHS – wearing hats of all shapes and colours!
Six Thinking Hats is a system designed by Edward de Bono which refers to different methods of thinking that give you skills and tools to help do the job. The same can be said for all of the nursing hats that I have had and all the skills that they have given me; problem solving, patience, knowledge, compassion, kindness, leadership, communication and optimism – these I hope I bring to my role.
Now I find myself as Head of Care Services for our ten care homes, supporting and leading a fantastic team of dedicated nurses and managers. I never dreamt that starting as a SEN I would then have a career that has seen so many hats, so many experiences and now be able to influence care and hopefully inspire our managers and nurses. I know I am not alone in saluting our nurses. Hats off to every single one of them for what they do every day in caring for our residents. Click here to read more from some of our amazing team of nurses, all with different experiences but all championing this very great profession.