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Nursing in Practice's 'Nurse of the Week'

Beckie Ward, 54, works as a practice nurse at Whitefields Surgery in Northampton.  Beckie was appointed to her role immediately after qualifying as a nurse in 2008.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I used to work in medical administration doing QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) before it was called QOF and I became really interested in disease management. I decided to get out there and do the job myself rather than process numbers. 

How do you start your day every morning?

I usually open the curtains and I like to look out over the park for a few minutes to wake myself up. The first thing I do when I get to the practice is make a coffee and say good morning to the office staff before I go through to my room.  

How do you relax and unwind after a day's work?

It varies. I really enjoy walking so very often I'll take a thermal cup of coffee and go for a walk. Other times I will set down to a good book or film to relax. 

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I most enjoy watching patients have that moment of understanding after explaining to them about their condition. I like the teaching aspect and seeing the information register in their eyes so they can be more knowledgeable about their condition and look after themselves better.    

What is the most challenging part of your day?

Staying to time on appointments. You know you want to stay to time and you don't want to keep people waiting but you are aware you don't want to give your patients a short shrift.

Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?

It's a difficult question to answer, because although I do think there are more administration tasks for nurses now than there ever was before, in some ways the admin burden is less. I have seen how computers now take up a lot of the admin work and while I would like to do less admin work, I totally see the need for it. 

Do you get enough face-to-face time with patients?

Yes I do. In our practice the management very carefully try and balance the face-to-face time you have and how much time you need to get through your paperwork. Otherwise nurses just end up stressed beyond all recognition and that isn't helpful to anyone. 

Do you think nursing is a more or less respected profession than it was in the past?

It definitely is a more respected profession now that it was. I have recently qualified as a nurse and the way we are taught when we are students now is a focus on seeing ourselves as a professional in the business and there is an overall recognition in the community that nurses take on an awful lot more than they used to and it is not just about following doctors' orders. 

Where do you see yourself in five year's time?

I would like to be fully qualified in family planning and possibly looking to do nurse prescribing as well.  

Are you surprised by how much you get done in a day?

Yes I do, but then I look at how little energy I have got at the end of the day and think that I am not surprised at all! It takes me a little while to relax at home to recover from a day's work before I can face the housework and the cleaning and whatever else because your patients do take up so much energy. But nurses generally do achieve a hell of a lot in a day.