Stephanie White - working as an outpatients nurse and in elderly care
Stephanie is an outpatients nurse with a great deal of nursing experience, especially in elderly care and agency work. So we asked her if she’d be happy to help give us a clearer understanding of her job, her views on nursing elderly patients and on the issues facing the agency nurse.
18th May 2010
You’re currently looking for a new role. What job are you looking for?
I am looking for a permanent nursing job in an Outpatient setting - so Outpatients Nurse vacancies.
How did you get in to nursing and what’s your earliest noteworthy job-related memory?
The Dentist I worked for encouraged me to train as a nurse, so I undertook my Learning Disabilities Nurse training first to do something different!
My earliest noteworthy memory was holding the hand of a lady who was dying and just being available for the relatives.
You’ve worked in a variety of nursing roles: surgical, outpatients, ITU, medical. Do you have a preference, and are there any nursing specialisms you would prefer to avoid – if so, why?
Health changes dictate that I look for work within the outpatients setting. I have always disliked theatre nurse jobs as you can’t communicate with the patient. I also prefer not to nurse children (paediatric nurse jobs) as the parents can get in the way a little. Of course, things may well have changed in the last few decades!
We’re always keen to ask this one – how has the role of the nurse changed during your career?
More is expected from nurses. And more is expected from the role on all levels - from managers and patients and of course the increase of paper work.
Some nurses’ jobs allow more autonomy these days, and we do have a greater say over care and procedure, however this does not always create the change nurses want to see in the clinical area.
You have a good deal of experience and training in elderly care and elderly nursing jobs. What interests you about this area of care?
It was felt that elderly care was one of the least ‘attractive’ areas of Nursing. The perception of elderly care is not a glamourous one. And I’m always attracted to what the majority dislikes!
Elderly care taught me respect and appreciation of what makes the older generation ’tick’. If you can look after elderly patients you can cope with anything!
How does agency work compare to a permanent nursing post within an organisation? How should a nurse prepare for agency work if they’ve only ever worked in permanent roles?
As an agency nurse (or temp nurse) you can sometimes feel that you’re looked down on or not valued as a trained and qualified nurse. So my advice is to arrive early. That way you can watch the interaction between the permanent nursing staff. Usually, this will help answer many of the questions you may have without having to ask. This is better, I think, than trying to rely on asking direct questions of the regular staff nurses - they are often simply too busy.
Finally, try not think of yourself as an Agency Nurse. Instead, for that one day you are part of that nursing team, a Trained and Qualified Nurse who is able to assess and plan work and provide excellent nursing care.