Beatrice Kungwengwe, 36, works as a registered mental health nurse on the Aquarius Ward at the South West London and St Georges NHS Trust. She has held this position for more than three years.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
My passion for caring. I have always wanted to be a nurse and I have always wanted to do something that would make a difference. I have always wanted to help people out, even from an early age – such as helping elderly people with their shopping.
How do you start your day every morning?
I believe delegation is the most important tool in nursing. The first thing I do in the morning is delegation if I am coordinating a shift to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. That way, the shift starts with no pressure on anyone, there is no pressure on myself and as a result of that, our patients receive the best quality care.
How do you relax and unwind after a day’s work?
I love watching X Factor and also I like to run. Running really de-stresses me but I have learnt to handle stress as a challenge. I keep time back for myself and try to have a good work/life balance, which allows me to spend quality time with my daughter.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Making a difference to people’s lives is the most important part of my job. Knowing that I have been able to contribute to somebody feeling much better and someone getting back in the community to lead a normal life.
What is the most challenging part of your day?
As a nurse you have to deal with families and other carers so for a patient to make a full recovery, you have to assist families. Nurses have got to play an important role in understanding and supporting a patient’s families through education. I do enjoy it but it can sometimes be a challenge.
Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?
There is more of an administration burden on nurses than there has been before and this is possibly because of funding cuts. But at the same time, nurses have just go to be multi-skilled and able to do what they have do to – in terms of updating care plans and risk assessments etc.
Do you get enough face-to-face time with patients?
Oh yes, that is my most important time. Anything else can wait as long as I have documented accurately, patient engagement time is the most important time. It is the way we get to know our patients, that is the way we get to intervene – you can’t intervene until you understand the problem through one-to-one time with the patient.
Do you think nursing is a more or less respected profession than it was in the past?
From my own point of view, patients and their families appreciate you more because you appreciate and value what you are doing. I think nursing is a very respected profession at the moment.
Where do you see yourself in five year’s time?
I would like to be still in nursing but at a higher level. I am currently doing my Masters in sexual health and if that goes well, I would like to be lecturing nurses or educating nurses on the importance of promoting sexual health in mental health. It is something I really want to do as I think it could bring about such important change.
Are you surprised by how much you get done in a day?
Sometimes I do think there is not enough hours in the day! But because you love the job and love caring for people, it is something that is automatic now and you make sure you meet your targets.