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The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the 'Year of the Nurse and Midwife', in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
Throughout the year, we will be offering an insight into nursing here at Royal Papworth Hospital and the different nursing careers available, celebrating the skill and diversity of our staff, by featuring one nurse each month.
To begin in January, we talk to Carole Buckley, who began her nurse training nearly 40 years ago.
Name: Carole Buckley
Job title: Assistant Director for Quality and Risk
When and where did you train to be a nurse?
I started my nurse training in January 1981. Initially I was training to become a state registered nurse (SRN). The registration requirements changed during the course of my training to a registered general nurse (RGN). I was employed by The Pilgrim Hospital, Boston in South Lincolnshire for the duration of my three-year training.
Why did you want to become a nurse?
I actually wanted to be a social worker initially and then changed my mind after attending a careers talk with a ward sister. She was such an inspirational lady and talked about nursing in such a passionate way that I thought ‘I want to be like that’. I have never regretted my decision and was at my happiest in my career when I was working as a staff nurse.
Which hospitals have you worked at?
I spent most of my nursing career at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and worked in a variety of settings - mostly in acute medicine and gastroenterology where I was a ward sister, but also in haematology, during which I trained to give chemotherapy and worked on the nursing bank at an oncology centre, palliative care and stroke rehab unit. I also had a short time in a critical care setting.
What is your current job role?
I have worked at Royal Papworth Hospital since January 2006. My job title is assistant director for quality and risk. This involves leading a team of 12 to support patient safety, patient experience and quality improvement. I draw on my professional nursing experience every day to help me do my role to the best of my ability, to support my colleagues and our patients through what are often very challenging circumstances. My role involves supporting patients and their families through the formal complaints process, the claims process and inquest process. These are often distressing and difficult times and my skills of compassion and empathy greatly assist my understanding and ability to offer the right support. My colleagues often need support at these times too and I often have to be the voice of reason above emotion to ensure all those involved feel supported during these processes.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself…
I am a passionate rugby union supporter. I went to Japan last year for the world cup semi-finals and final and can regularly be found at Franklins Gardens watching the Northampton Saints.
What do you love most about nursing?
I love being able to make a positive difference to people at what is often one of the most difficult times of their lives. I was once told by a very sick patient: “I am glad you are looking after me today Carole, as I always feel safe when you are here”.
I have never forgotten that comment and it inspires me to be the best I can be for our patients.
How has the profession changed over the years?
I believe that fundamentally the core requirements of good care have not changed. What patients want now is what they have always wanted: to be cared for and to be safe. What has changed is the technical requirements of nursing in many areas and the changing roles and many opportunities that are now open to nurses.
What three words would you use to describe nursing?
Professional, compassionate and kind.