Wendy Wells, 52, is a weight management lead at the Wolverhampton Road Surgery, a role she has held since 2011. She has worked at the surgery since 1988 – first as a midwife, then a health visitor in 2003 before taking on her current role. Wendy began nursing in 1978, on the week of her 18th birthday. She received the Queens Nurse award in November 2011 for her work on obesity from former chief nursing officer Christine Beasley in November 2011 (see picture).
What inspired you to become a nurse?
It was a childhood dream of mine to become a nurse. I wouldn’t change my idea of what I wanted to do even as a child in spite of anything my parents said.
How do you start your day every morning?
I start my day at home with a cup of tea and the first thing I do when I get to work is check my appointments so I can plan my day.
How do you relax and unwind after a day’s work?
My husband would say a cup of tea or glass of wine, depending on my day. But for me, listening to the Archers is a great way to unwind.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
Helping people. It is a bit boring and a bit of a cliché but it really is such a privilege to be a part of somebody’s journey and to see them achieve their goal. It is just breathtaking.
What is the most challenging part of your day?
The paperwork and clerical side of things. I would rather be face-to-face with people, than writing about it.
Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?
Oh God yes. The admin burden has definitely grown since I first became a nurse, which is probably due to a fear of litigation. The primary care trust (PCT) are on your back the whole time to be accountable when actually sometimes they are just covering their own backs and it is not actually in the patient’s best interests. Sometimes, they do seem to forget the most important part of the health service is the patient.
Do you get enough face-to-face time with patients?
Yes I do. I have always manipulated my role around to put the patients as a priority.
Do you think nursing is a more or less respected profession than it was in the past?
I guess there is less respect from patients but not that much less – because when you have a face-to-face contact with a patient for five minutes or five months, they really do show a tremendous amount of respect for what you have done. And also nurses are closer to doctors in a way we have never been before, which allows us to do more – we can prescribe etc, and means we get more respect from doctors as a whole. We are able to more, give more feedback and look more holistically then the doctor’s medical model – we are not the handmaidens that we used to be. These days we can made more decisions and tell the doctors what we did rather than be told what to do.
Where do you see yourself in five year’s time?
Still nursing and hopefully doing more work with obesity and helping to develop the service as we understand more about the condition, because working with obese patients is my real passion in life.
Are you surprised by how much you get done in a day?
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