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What does it take to be a nurse?


Part of being the best you can be is focusing on what it takes to get there. We’re continuing the “What does it take…?” column, which looks at this aspect of being the best. This month, we’re chatting with A&E nurse Charlotte Jaye.


How do you become a nurse?

Training is now a four-year degree course. During that time you can decide on weather you are going to be an adult nurse, a children’s nurse or a psychiatric nurse.


What is the best thing about becoming a nurse?

Being a nurse is a very rewarding job. It is about helping people to become well and help them deal with difficult and life changing experiences and situations

As a nurse, I meet many incredible people from different walks of life.


And the most challenging?

The hours are sometimes long and are not geared for a family life. I deal with many aggressive and challenging patients. Some have drug and alcohol problems, some have mental health issues and others become aggressive because of long waits in the department. The Government also set targets that are sometimes impossible to reach and therefore makes working life more stressful.


What’s your average day like?

My average day consists of taking charge of the department. Knowing most things about each patient, liaising very closely with members of the team and constant planning to ensure the smooth and safe running of the department.

Working in A&E, we never know what will come through the door, so we need to be prepared for every eventuality. One minute we can be fairly quiet, then within 20 minutes we can have a full resuscitation area with patients suffering from road traffic accidents, cardiac arrests, burns and self inflicted wounds. It gets very busy at around 11am and stays like that until around 4am.


Is this something you see yourself doing for the rest of your life?

I see myself being a nurse until I retire, but I won’t be working in A&E that whole time. I will probably venture into sexual health nursing, where the pace is not so hectic. It would be good to specialise in something else.


What made you want to become a nurse?

My Grandmother and mother were nurses, so I guess I just fell into it.


Which assets are mostly used in your career.


You have to be very patient to be a nurse, not everyone can work at the pace you want them too and patients will not always understand what is asked of them, especially the ones who speak limited English. You need to have good clinical judgement to make serious decisions and this comes with time, expertise and training. As nurses, we need to be able to empower people, helping them to achieve maintain and recover independence.


Historically nursing is seen as a woman’s profession. Is this changing and why?

Nurses have been predominantly female in the past, but there are many more men going into nursing, One in ten nurses are now male. Many think the likes of such programmes such as Casualty have attracted more men to the profession. The main character, Charlie Fairhead is a good role model because he is competent and caring and a man. Men are no longer put off by the gender stereotyping.


Which living person do you most admire and why?

I admire many people for many different reasons. I admire people who don’t give up and carry on with their lives despite such hardship and difficulties they face.


What is your proudest moment?

The birth of my kids.


What did you want to be when you were little?

An actress/pop star/film star/princess, like most little girls.


When did you last see the sunrise?

In August in Greece on my way home from a night out with the girls!


How do you relax?

Baths, dinners, a glass or two of wine, friends, laughter, travel, music and sleep.


What do you want to be remembered for?

Hopefully, a great mum, daughter and friend.


What advice do I have for people that want to take up nursing?

Think about it, do some research. Nursing can be very rewarding, but has brutal hours and consequences on social life, particularly when you’re young. It’s also not a well-paid job. But on the other hand, its great fun, you can meet lifelong friends and share amazing experiences with them. It’s a great job to travel with.

If I won the lottery, I’d like to think I would stay in my job. I work with an amazing bunch and I love my job.

The Best You

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