Nursing: Job Or Vocation?
We talk to Amanda Quinn who explains why nursing really isn't just a job.
17th July 2017
Written by Amanda Quinn
Can you really become an effective, compassionate and fulfilled nurse for all the wrong reasons?
If I managed it, anyone can.
For most, perhaps understandably, it’s a vocation.
I was much younger when I listed what I wanted from life and how I could achieve it. I didn’t know then that such innocent idealism, and a belief in myself and what I must offer the world, would allow me to shape my life to fit who I wanted to be.
At the top of my list was “travel”. What I meant, in my head, was “experience cultures of diverse peoples”. Nursing seemed the best fit for me. That became my vocation.
The friendships of like-minded people are a joy when there’s a shared passion. I’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of the diversity nursing offers.
Never one to stay in any role for longer than 3 years, I’ve hopped about from Medicine to Surgery. Loved A&E, worked in the USA, specialised in Enteral then Parenteral Nutrition. I’ve been a manager, been a team player, worked as a translator in a Spanish hospital. Left the profession and returned at will.
But I’m still a Nurse.
Despite my love for the NHS, I had to say “goodbye” to that fading beacon of light some years ago when I realised I could no longer give the care to the standards I’d been trained to; Despite working through breaks on what became 13 hour shifts. Although I’d worked “double shifts” of 16hrs in the States, those were my choice with days of rest in between. The reliance of Governments on nurses to put on the vocation hat and dig deep to hold the line, eventually meant patients in my care suffered.
Recently, I’ve briefly nipped out of the “front line” to raise some money for my next project. I always have a short and long-term plan.
Over the next couple of months, I’m teaming up with a Russian charity to provide free healthcare to the Mayan community in Guatemala. I’ve acquired skills and experience that I hope will be helpful. In arranging this, I’m now in touch with other voluntary charities in Costa Rica and Panama.
The plan I wrote 30 years ago is gaining momentum before the final leap.
Nursing continues to face the challenges of living in a capitalist democracy in the UK, with an ever-increasing ageing population. Due to cuts in nurse-to-patient numbers, and a greater reliance of Auxiliary Staff to do Nursing jobs, standards and morale have been negatively affected.
Swathes of experienced, highly trained nurses have left to either enter the private sector, or quit. Change is needed with the mind-set of the media who often change “Angel” status to “Demon”. Raising the profile of the Nurse by embracing the modern media is one of many ways forward.
Demonstrating our worth around the globe in what’s become an ever-shrinking world is, hopefully, another.
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