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Nursing in Practice's 'Nurse of the Week'

Helen Lewis is a practice nurse at the Grange Medical Practice in Cardiff, Wales.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I had always wanted to be a nurse from a young age, when my grandmother was admitted to hospital following a stroke, my admiration for the nursing team looking after her, showing such dedication and care toward a virtual stranger really inspired me to go into the profession.    

How do you start your day every morning?

As a practice nurse having everything prepared and checking equipment before starting the day gives me a head start and the necessary organisation to cope with the unexpected.   

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

Quiet contemplation with a mug of coffee and a good book.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

There are a number of things really I enjoy about my job.   I am blessed to work within a small but cohesive team where professional values are maintained but friendship has developed over the years , we know instinctively when to offer support and when to give space to each other.   Coupled with the patients we see on a regular basis and the trust they show in us as nurses is a significant part of my job satisfaction

What is the most challenging part of your day?

The unexpected - in general practice anything can happen and as a nurse I think you always have to be aware.

Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?

Administration is a significant burden, some nurses will have administration time to address issues but more often than not administration is dealt with between patients and into lunch breaks.

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

You could argue that there is never enough face to face time, some patients will sit all day and chat and I think it is important as nurses that we recognise when a patient is simply passing the time of day and when they really need to be listened to and action is needed.

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

In some areas I would say that it is a more respected profession, I fear however that the nurse-doctor relationship will always be one of professional conflict.   

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years I see myself teaching the next generation of practice nurses but also combining my role as educator with my first love - being a practice nurse -  it's in my blood!

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

Every minute of every day - I am astounded!