"This picture of me was taken in 1993. I had just qualified as a Registered General Nurse (RGN) at the then East Glamorgan School of Nursing in Church Village.
As a PTS - or pre-training student - I did eight weeks theory in the classroom and then a further eight weeks on the ward.
My first ward was a medical ward where I learnt to take manual blood pressures, use a mercury thermometer and run a section with a staff nurse and auxiliary nurse.
It was here that I also learnt to do the Australian lift, a two-nurse manual handling activity that was used to lift a person, regardless of their size, usually whilst they were in a hospital bed.
This was before hospitals had hoists, and when nurses still wore paper hats… which I always managed to lose somewhere under the patient during this tricky manouvre!
Nurses were of different sizes too and the Australian lift was notorious for causing long term damage to your back, which is why it was eventually (and thankfully!) phased out.
When the children were young, I was an E-grade staff nurse in Intensive Care, working nights. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it – bringing up two children under two while working full time and night shifts. I survived on three hours sleep a night for a number of years. Of course, it wasn’t sustainable which is why I took a pay cut to move into community nursing – a job which gave me a better work / life balance and one which in which I thrived and progressed.
That’s the great thing about nursing – you always have options. You can work anywhere in the world, or just another role within your own locality. There is always the opportunity to move, change, develop, whether your reasons are professional, or personal, like mine.
I don’t know many careers that can offer you this, on top of the very real satisfaction of being able to help, care and make a difference."