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Nursing in Practice's 'Nurse of the Week'

Rhona Aikman is an independent nurse prescriber and practice nurse at Gourock Medical Practice, Scotland

What inspired you to become a nurse?

I was inspired by my father to become a nurse. He was a doctor and I was born and brought up in Hong Kong and can remember going with him during school holidays to outlying clinics.  I remember watching him work and only realised much later in life how much he had influenced me.

How do you start your day every morning?

Some days I will be seeing patients from 8am - early morning appointments are popular for people heading to work especially if fasting blood tests are required. Two days a week I will be doing triage for requests for same day appointments, which can be busy especially in the winter months.

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

It depends on what kind of day I have had. In the summer, a walk or a swim is nice but I am afraid in the winter it is usually a good book or a night in front of the TV.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love the variety of my work. In the same day I could see a child with a minor ailment, a teenager for contraceptive advice, a traveller going on a gap year crossing three continents, and an elderly person with diabetes and heart disease.

What is the most challenging part of your day?

The most challenging part of the day for me is usually late morning when I am running late and just trying to get the balance right between giving someone that needs it a bit of time and not keeping others waiting too long.

Do you think the administration burden on nurses is excessive?

In general practice I think the contract work has made us work differently and use skills appropriately. For me to be doing administration work is a very costly use of my time and could be done more efficiently by admin staff. However good record keeping is essential and sometimes this cannot be completed while face-to-face with the patient.

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

I am fortunate to work in a practice where I have a good deal of flexibility regards appointment times. I use different times for different clinics varying from five minutes to 30 minutes.

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

I think on the whole it remains well respected. In general practice I think patients are very aware of the change in the role practice nurses play and I feel respect is something you earn rather than expect.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

In five years I hope to still be working as a practice nurse. I would like to think I might be involved in some way to the continued development of practice nursing as a career.

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

Not really, though there are days when I really think I could not work at that pace every day.