Nurse : Research
What do you do for a living?
Lead Research Nurse at the RIE Clinical Research Facility, Edinburgh.

How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I did a BSc (Hons) in Health studies at Queen Margaret University part time and really enjoyed the Research part of the course. Only advice was from the Professor of the ward I worked with. Research Nursing was not really very popular then

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
I trained as a Registered General Nurse, then did a Diploma in Nursing then a BSc (Hons) in Health studies (part-time at night-school) Before I specialised in Research Nurse nursing, I had worked as a General Nurse for 15 years. Most of my general nursing experience was in the acute admissions units and high dependency units in the RIE hospital

Talk me through a day in your life… what sorts of things would it involve?
I am responsible for a Research ward in the RIE Hospital . It has 16 beds and a small laboratory space. I have 30 staff who work here . I am responsible for the care and safety of the patients and volunteers and responsible for the staff and their training. My day is varied as it is often busy.

Was it your planned career when you were 18?
I started nursing at 18. Before this I was going to be a PE teacher but changed my mind at the last minute

What did your mum and dad want you to do?
To do further training after school and do something I enjoyed and was worthwhile

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
You will never be rich or bored, and it is a really rewarding career

What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Nursing has a wide and varied remit. Getting your general training is just a start. There are so many areas to specialise in. e.g midwifery, mental health, paediatrics. The hours of work are varied and unsociable. You must always be updating your knowledge and lifelong learning goes along with nursing. It is a fantastic career

Nurse : Specialist
What do you do for a living?
Specialist nurse

How did you get interested in what you do?
Nursing was something I always wanted to do but the type of nursing I do now was not an area I was familiar with then. Unfortunately I was not given any advice but was supported in my decision by my family.

What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?

At the time when I started nursing it was not a degree course as it is now. I needed o grades and highers in English and a number of health sciences. I gained general experience in different areas as well as working as a ward sister before deciding to become a specialist in my chosen field. I did post basic education in my field and then a Masters degree.

Talk us through a day in your life.
The area I work in is neurology and it is very diverse. I see patients who have been diagnosed with neurological illnesses throughout the disease trajectory so I may see a young person who is newly diagnosed or an older person who has had a condition for many years. I may see someone with little or no disability or very secretly disabled. I see people in my outpatient clinic in their home and help them manage their their illness. I also provide education to other health and social care professionals about neurological illness.

Was this your planned career when you were 18?
Although I wanted to be a nurse this was not how I thought I would be working. It is very different to how the traditional role of a nurse is perceived and in this current health climate it is how nursing of the future may look.

What did your parents want you to do?
Whatever I wanted to do and what would make me happy.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Do not specialise too early. Gain different life experiences as well as in the area or profession you want to work.

What other career directions could you go in?
Education – nurse