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Nursing in Practice's 'Nurse of the Week'

Donna Davenport is a senior lecturer for the CPD and Postgraduate Studies Division in the 
Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care at 
Manchester Metropolitan University. 

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I wanted to be a nurse from about the age of seven years old and have never considered doing anything else. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to help so many people and to have work in such a valued profession. My career has given me the opportunity to work in a wide range of settings in both primary and secondary care and I have been able to constantly expand my practice through experience, education, training and development.

How do you start your day every morning?

As a lecturer no day is ever the same. I usually allocate some time to go through e mails and mail sifting through the many applications we receive for our degrees and CPD portfolio. I may have tutorials booked with individual students or go straight in to start teaching- the best bit of my job!

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

I go to Zumba three times a week which I love. It's not just the exercise but the music which makes you feel good. I might meet up with friends or family and I love nothing more than chatting and hearing everyone's news over a glass of wine. I also love ballroom dancing and am a mad Strictly Come Dancing fan!

What do you most enjoy about your job?

The teaching definitely and seeing students develop over the weeks and months of their studies. Nurses often doubt their academic ability and part of my role is about coaching them through their studies and giving them the confidence to succeed. I also learn so much from them and it keeps me in touch with practice and the real and challenging world out there.

What is the most challenging part of your day?

Juggling all the plates so to speak! As I said no day is ever the same so sometimes unexpected things can happen and you have to think on your feet. There isn't a policy or guideline for every eventuality so like nurses in clinical practice you have to use your professional judgement and problem solve frequently.

Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?

Absolutely and despite the fact we live in a world of technology, nurses are still being left behind both in terms of resources and training to use technology to make their work easier in relation to administration, data collection and audit. Administration is an essential part of any profession but when it takes you away from delivering good care and as a consequence care suffers then this is unacceptable.

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

Nursing is still a respected profession but there has been some loss of this in light of recent high profile cases of poor practice both in the NHS and the private sector. Nurses are in the best position to change things and should at every opportunity!

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I would like to say on a Caribbean island reading a good book! However, I think even though I am approaching retirement age in the next 10 years I will always do something related to nursing and working with people so who knows. Nursing does provide you with a wide range of skills in clinical practice, teaching, leadership and management all of which are transferable into other opportunities throughout your working life so we shouldn't forget that.

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

Absolutely! Having always worked and studied I wonder sometimes how I have managed to get so much done. The secret is to be organised and most nurses are good at this. However, we also need to be able to delegate sometimes and not feel we have to do everything. This is something I have had to learn over the years as well as taking time out for me and sometimes having to say “no” without feeling guilty!