In preperation for the upcoming Mary Seacole activity pack we wanted to interview women working in the medical profession today. First up is Arusha, a Senior Community Mental Health Nurse.
This is Arusha:
Hi Arusha, can you tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your job?
Hi, I'm Arusha, I grew up in South Africa and moved to England with my mum when I was 14. I trained to be a nurse about six years ago and I am now a senior community mental health nurse in Norfolk. It's a long title but, just like people can break their leg or become ill with flu, sometimes people's minds can become unwell. They might feel very sad or worried. Sometimes they see and hear things that aren't there. I support them to stay well so that they don't have to go into hospital and so that they can live happy lives. I do this by helping with their medication and helping them to find ways of coping with difficult times.
Did you always want to be a nurse?
I didn't know that I wanted to be a nurse until I was 21. I always liked helping people but I didn't really know about Mental Health nursing before that. I'm glad I took the time out to find out what I enjoyed rather than rushing into something.
What else did you want to be when you were growing up?
Of course I wanted to be a singer or an actress! I wanted to be like Christina Aguilera.
Who were your role models? Are these still the same? If not, who are your role models now?
Well it sounds very corny but my mum has always been my role model. She's a very caring and loving person.
When I first worked as a nurse I had two senior nurses who I really admired. They were both very strong women who loved their job and really cared about helping their patients to recover. I often meet inspiring people in this job. I think it's important to have your heroes but also to recognise your own skills and qualities. Everyone has something to offer.
What training/qualifications did you need to gain?
I went to university and did a three year nursing diploma. Back then you could choose to do a diploma or a degree but now nurses have to do the degree. There isn't much difference. As a nurse you never stop learning. No two people are the same and medicine changes all the time so you can never know it all!
What are you favourite things about your job?
I love the people. Every day is different from the last in this job and I get to meet so many interesting people. I meet a lot of very caring people too and I am always learning. I also love that I get to use my imagination and problem-solve. There's no better feeling than knowing you've helped to make someone's life happier.
Is there anything that you don't like as much?
Sadly, we don't always have enough time, money and staff to help everyone as much as we want to. This makes the job hard at times but even if you can make a small difference to someone's life then you've achieved something.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
Just to appreciate the work that nurses do, along with the whole of the NHS. We're very lucky to have it and we always need more nurses and people who will stand up for those that can't stand up for themselves.