Monday, April 09, 2012
We talk to Alison While, professor of community nursing at King’s College London who registered as a nurse in 1975, before becoming a health visitor.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I always wanted to be a nurse throughout my childhood and it never really occurred to me to pursue other career options.
Where did you train?
I trained at St Thomas’ Hospital, London and had the most inspirational nurse tutors. Sadly one of my nurse tutors died two winters ago. I’m still in correspondence with my other nurse tutor.
What was your first job in nursing?
I worked as a health visitor in north Kensington, London. My geographical patch comprised a housing clearance/improvement area and some streets with mansions.
What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?
A constant desire to aspire to the highest standards in everything; it is exhausting.
From whom have you learnt most in your nursing career and why?
At different times I have been lucky to learn from lots of different people. My nurse tutors taught me the importance of personal and professional integrity, which I have carried with me over the years. But they were also tremendous fun. I was fortunate to work alongside Jenifer Wilson-Barnett for many years; she was committed to high quality nursing and believed you should never settle for second best when it came to patient care.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?