I started off in Ireland doing a science degree. I always enjoyed science and the impact it had on people, but what I really wanted to do was go somewhere that was at the forefront of it.

When we look at nursing as a profession as a whole, at the moment we’re pushing for a lot of health promotion. What I found was that actually, when it came to being in the hospital or in primary care, which I’m in at the moment, it all came back to educating people.

So where I wanted to be a chef before, I now understand and educate people on what’s good to eat.

My science understanding can go into explaining to a patient how an MRI or x-ray machine works. Nursing is a constantly ever-changing and educating role.

Not afraid of the NMC anymore

When we were in our earlier days of university, the students, and I’d say even to some extent registered nurses, had this kind of fear of the NMC, like,

“Oh, they’re going to strike us off’.

In reality, as time’s gone on and I’ve explored other areas of the NMC, at the RCN and university, they’re not out to strike us off. They’re there to support, encourage and engage with people and prevent any issues from arising.

And that change has come more from talking with other people. A while ago we would have been afraid, whereas now it’s more about ‘what can the NMC do for us?’

It’s about being open, transparent and honest about what’s changing, what’s happening and what we’re doing for one another.

What matters to me

I think the focus needs to be on staffing, support and funding the future of nursing. I’d really push for the NMC to support this with their communications.

We have a shortage of nurses and for a lot of student nurses going on to qualify, they’re thinking about staffing levels and the impact of that on the support they’re going to get.

Yes, there is a demand and financial strain, but it’s so important that we attract and retain nursing students. People are dropping out of their degree because they can’t fund themselves, and they are vital nurses that we desperately need.