Why did you become a nurse?
I qualified as a nurse in 1981 in Southampton. I began my career working in acute hospital care. In the late 80's, I moved to a community nursing role, which I absolutely loved.
How has your career developed since you started nursing?
I took the opportunity to develop my skills in a different direction in the mid 90's in a lead nursing role at HM Prison Winchester for 12 years and then moved to the DH in London as the assistant director of nursing on the prison health taskforce before moving to the RCN in my current role where I have been for 10 years.
What does your current role entail?
I support frontline professional practice by helping members to shape policy, influence practice and develop themselves with the aim of better outcomes for people receiving nursing care. I sit on the NHS England Health and Justice Clinical Reference Group and have actively supported offender mentoring, previous offenders and also people with a learning disability to become more involved in supporting the work of the RCN. I have just completed writing my second book which was published in October 2014.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best is knowing that my experience and knowledge in nursing practice can help to support frontline staff. The worst is seeing examples of nursing cuts, which is having a direct impact upon morale and quality of care.
How do you see your role developing?
I love the job I have. I have been very fortunate in my nursing career. I am happy to continue with my current work but also look forward to being around for my new grandson who was born in November.
If you weren't a nurse, what would you be?
I would have liked to run a small guest house. Holiday critic wouldn't be a bad job though.
What would you do if you were health secretary?
Invest in nursing. We really have to support nursing more than we are at present. It is the key to a strong NHS and beyond – we see nursing in so many diverse localities now. I'd want to get primary care sorted to reduce the pressures on emergency care. I'd also create a wider range of community nursing roles, keeping people well, in their homes and in their community.