I’m a nurse by profession and that’s something I’ll do as long as I’m able but my role has morphed into recruitment. I spend a vast amount of time bringing nurses across from the Philippines, Africa, India and elsewhere to work in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

I enjoy it – it’s different every day.

How the NMC can help the sector

At the moment we have massive recruitment and retention issues and the people who have a lot of the data that we need to help us understand the bigger picture, is the NMC. So it’s crucial that they share their data with others.

I think the NMC standards and the information about them could be more dynamic and responsive. Standards can be very hospital-based but a lot of care is also delivered in the community and other settings. The wording of the standards is really important too, as there will always be an element of interpretation when people use them.

Positive changes

One of the most positive changes I’ve seen over the past five years from the NMC is the emphasis of their events.

When I first started going to NMC-led events and roadshows I viewed them a chance for the NMC to tell us what the organisation was doing. Now their events are about them wanting to hear from people and find out what they think.

This is a fantastic evolution from where the NMC was as an organisation, and I’m delighted to have seen this happen. Now I hope it will improve further by making sure the people attending their events are representative of the whole sector and all four countries of the UK.

Engagement matters

If the NMC is about safe care for the public then it’s important the public knows about the NMC. You can’t say that you’re acting to protect the people unless you’re engaging with them and working with them.

I think people in the professions see the NMC as necessary, but not an organisation they engage with unless there’s a problem. I don’t know how we break that down but it’s important. There is a lot of advice on the NMC website and people could make more use of that.

I think the NMC also needs to be more responsive to the needs of the people on its register. I’m not saying to bend over backwards for people but to ask the question when something goes wrong: ‘what has happened to cause this?’ There are times in life when things happen and it’s outside of your control.