I’ve been a registered children’s and adult nurse for almost 40 years – nine of which I’ve spent working at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).
Being a nurse is why I got up in the morning as a student and it still gets me out of bed today, but not all days go smoothly.
To this day, I still carry the souvenirs and scars of my nursing career. This includes the plaster cast dog that a child made and gave to me as a present when leaving hospital.
It also includes the bump on my head when I careered down the stairs after a busy day at 23 Portland Place, and the AVPU advice I gave to colleagues treating me.
But the one thing I always feel is pride. Pride in my nursing colleagues, both new and old. Pride in my profession, and its rich heritage.
It’s almost a century since the Nurses Registration Act 1919 laid the foundations for nursing regulation, setting us nurses on a journey to become the UK’s most trusted profession, touching the lives of people and communities everywhere in an astonishing variety of roles.
As we continue the countdown to 100 years of professional pride, I’ve been asking nursing colleagues to share what nursing means to them.
One story shines through.
When I first met Georgina, she was a third year student nurse who went on to contribute to our Future Nurse project – driving up standards in nursing and enabling better, safer care.
Georgina also helped to shape our Quality Assurance Framework, improving how we work with partners in education and practice to deliver world class education programmes.
When I asked her to explain what it means to her to be a nurse, this is what she said:
“Nursing is truly incredible. There is never a dull moment.
“I will be completing the Capital Nurse rotation next month meaning I have been a nurse for nearly 18 months. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey. From feeling (and probably looking) like a "rabbit in the headlights" to now taking a deep breath and assessing a situation calmly and getting help immediately when needed. I choose my wording wisely (and always being aware of body language) and have seen the importance of trust and how it takes time to build.
“I have thought a lot about my next step, and I have a new job in the Paediatric High Dependency Unit in the Royal Brompton Hospital starting in November.”
I am SO proud of Georgina and all her hard work and dedication. She really is an inspiration and a perfect example of someone who is Always caring, always nursing.
Being a nurse opens a window into a world that few see, and even fewer understand.
But it’s moments like these, when we nurses take time to listen and reflect on the passion and pride of our colleagues, that we can see how lucky we are.
Lucky to have each other, despite all the challenges we face.
That’s why 100 years of professional pride is so important to all nurses. It’s a moment to be proud of our heritage, and to celebrate the amazing impact we have every single day.