5 May 2020

As far as diverse careers go, nursing affords you the opportunity to change your career path without changing the career, writes Gabrielle Bleidorn, Peripatetic Homeless/Hostel, and Health and Wellbeing Nurse Specialist.

Gabrielle Bleidorn, Peripatetic Homeless/HostelThroughout my twenty year nursing career I have witnessed the joy of childbirth, the grief of death and all the surgeries, wounds, and social care and support in between. I have traditionally worked long hours, coped with pressure from regulators and had an ever increasing documentation burden. Despite this I love nursing because I get the satisfaction of making a difference in someone's life when they need it the most. Patients are more than just patients, they’re people. I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families. I learn their story, where they are from, their interests and future goals after recovery. I like to be able to deliver the quality of care I would want if I were in their shoes. I get to become an advocate and to provide care, support, dignity and respect. This is often rewarded by a simple thank you from my patients, whether it is by a word, a look, or a smile.

I enjoy learning, and in fact learn on a daily basis. Every day I am humbled, as each patient and situation teaches me valuable life lessons. Moreover within the nursing profession there are always new research, policies and procedures to learn. I enjoy working for the NHS as an organisation, as it has a commitment to support continued professional education. I have the chance to expand my knowledge and continue learning throughout my career; this is available to all nurses at all levels. Furthermore I also enjoy training new nurses. The impact of peer learning is immeasurable, and I love seeing a nurse that I helped train thriving on their own.

One of the things I like about nursing is that I hate doing nothing. I would rather be run off my feet then be sitting in the same spot behind a computer all day. In fact I love the diversity within nursing it keeps you on the edge of your toes with no situation or day ever being the same. 

You can also change your career path without changing careers. I have had many different jobs within nursing from intensive care nurse to hospice nurse to Endoscopy manager to homeless nurse and nurse lecturer. I have worked across a variety of different field’s including physical health, mental health, and offender care and substance misuse. I have found all the jobs equally fascinating and rewarding and have learnt so much from each. In later years I have similarly enjoyed getting involved in commissioning of services and service need ensuring my patient’s voices are heard. To sum up: my love of nursing is valuing the diversity of people and professional organisation that guides me and believing I can make a difference.