Explore: Healthcare

Senior Sister
Addenbrookes Hospital

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Janet O

00:00:01 My name is Janet O and I’m a Senior Sister. Where I work now is an Intensive Care Unit for babies. Because the babies are quite sick and because it’s an Intensive Care Unit, you never know when the next patient is going to come through the doors, so you are really on the go the whole time. I think the work is probably – it’s quite challenging, and maybe that’s what some of us like. We like the challenge of the environment that we work in.

00:00:36 I think I was always good with children, I’m the oldest girl, I’ve got three younger brothers so I sort of was naturally in that role I guess. When I left school I trained to be a nursery nurse. When I qualified, that was a two year course, I was offered a job on a Special Care Unit. Loved it. Trained nurses there were trying to encourage me to do nurse training then. But I’d been through school and been to college for two years, and I didn’t really relish the prospect of perhaps another four and a half years then it would have been, to work on the unit as a qualified nurse. That had just given me a taste really of probably what I wanted to do in the future.

00:01:26 I got married, I had two small children, so I had to rethink – did I want to continue doing jobs that were just to earn a bit of extra money, or did I want a job that I actually enjoyed and had some prospects? Saw an advert for a local hospital asking for people who’d had experience of working in a Special Care Unit. And when I got there I saw the student nurses and the student midwives being taught, and I thought – I could do that, they could teach me that. I decided then that I would train to do the job that they were doing.

00:02:13 It’s hard even with hindsight to think whether I would have done things differently or not. It was probably a good thing for me that I had a break, and then returned to studying later on. I think I was probably more focused doing it as an adult learner. I think there were key people as well who I aspired to be. There was a sister on the first unit that I worked at who inspired me. I just admired her. I admired the way that she behaved and the skill that she had, and I wanted to be that person. When I was sixteen I don’t think I could have imaged really how far I would have come. Just thinking about it now, I probably have become that person that I aspired to be, because I am in that senior role now. Now I’ve thought about it, it’s pretty amazing

00:03:11 ENDS


Janet O is a Senior Sister in the intensive care unit for babies at Addenbrookes Hospital. She had always been good with children, although it was only after having her own that she chose to retrain as a nurse. She describes a role model colleage “Just thinking about it now, I probably have become that person that I aspired to be, because I am in that senior role now.”

More information about Nurses

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

15%  male 
85%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Nurses provide general and/or specialised nursing care for the sick, injured and others in need of such care, assist medical doctors with their tasks and work with other healthcare professionals and within teams of healthcare workers. They advise on and teach nursing practice.
Qualification as a nurse is via a diploma or degree course, both of which are provided by universities. Courses comprise both theoretical and practical work, including placements in hospital and community settings. Full time diploma courses last three years; degree courses last three or four years. Accelerated programmes are available to graduates with a health-related degree. There is a minimum age limit of 17 years 6 months to enter training. Post-registration training is available for a range of clinical specialisms.
  • Assists medical doctors and works with other healthcare professionals to deal with emergencies and pre-planned treatment of patients;
  • Manages own case load;
  • Monitors patient’s progress, administers drugs and medicines, applies surgical dressings and gives other forms of treatment;
  • Participates in the preparation for physical and psychological treatment of mentally ill patients;
  • Plans duty rotas and organises and directs the work and training of ward and theatre nursing staff;
  • Advises on nursing care, disease prevention, nutrition, etc. and liaises with hospital board/ management on issues concerning nursing policy;
  • Plans, manages, provides and evaluates nursing care services for patients, supervises the implementation of nursing care plans;
  • Delivers lectures and other forms of formal training relating to nursing practice.
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