Elaine, Community Staff Nurse, NHS Lothian
Elaine is a community staff nurse at NHS Lothian. After completing her training, she followed her dream of becoming a children’s nurse. She now works in the Midlothian Immunisation Team.
Where did your nursing journey start?
My nursing journey started when I began my training in 1990. I had always wanted to be a children’s nurse, but at that time you had to complete your adult nursing qualification first. This was a three-year course which I took at Lothian College of Nursing, based at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
After I qualified in 1993, I worked in a children’s ward in an adult hospital. However, when this ward was moved to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, I was unable to move with it as I was not yet trained in children’s nursing. So, in 1995, I completed my training in children’s nursing.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I became a nurse because Nurse Nancy in the ‘Twinkle’ comic was my hero!
Can you tell us what a typical day is like for you?
A typical day for me is immunising babies as part of the childhood immunisation programme. These children range from around 8 weeks to 3 years old and I work in a clinic within a GP surgery. The clinics are very busy but can vary day to day.
The best part of my day is spending time with the parents and their children. I really enjoy my job. I love working with children.
What would you say are the most important skills for a nurse?
A nurse must be kind, patient and able to work under pressure. You need to be adaptable to any situation and think quick on your feet. You must be also good at problem solving.
What makes you proud to be a nurse?
Every day I put on my uniform I am proud to be a nurse, and I know that I have helped someone. I feel we should all go that extra bit for our patients.
What advice would you give to others thinking about becoming a nurse?
I always tell anyone if they are thinking of a career in nursing to do it. Nursing is not a career if you want to make money, but it is a career that will give you job satisfaction.
What makes you smile at work?
Everything about my job makes me smile at work. I am often asked why I am so happy at work, and it is because I love my job. Few people can say this, but I can, and do.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to meet 8-week-old babies and their parents, then I get to see these children grow up into toddlers, when they return aged 1 and 3 for their other immunisations. You really build a relationship with the families, especially if they have more than one child.
What empowers you to be a nurse?
I am empowered by the skills I have learned and the education I have completed during my nursing career. This has given me confidence, furthering myself and my career.
Nurses are here for life because….
People will always get sick and therefore will always need nurses to care for them.