Amanda is an RN (Child Branch) who had a 10-year career in the NHS. She had 6 years as a surgical nurse. Then a maternity break followed by work with a school nursing team. After changing back to a more clinical A&E-based role, she realised that she longed for a less stressful work experience. Her answer was to retrain and setup her own business as an acupuncturist.
Diploma of Higher Education with Distinction in Nursing Studies (Child Branch)
Bachelor of Science with Upper Second-Class Honours in Acupuncture
Children’s surgery (Royal Victoria Infirmary/Great Northern Children’s Hospital)
Staff Nurse with the School Nursing Team (County Durham and Darlington Trust)
Treatment and Assessment Unit/A&E (Great Northern Children’s Hospital)
Children’s Day Unit (Great Northern Children’s Hospital)
(Nursing career 2005-2015)
I graduated as a paediatric staff nurse from Northumbria University in 2005 having found my nurse training throughout the Newcastle Trust a very varied and enjoyable experience. I particularly enjoyed my paediatric A&E and surgical placements, and prior to qualifying was very fortunate to receive job offers in both specialities as well as a job in my local district hospital.
I accepted the surgical nurse post within the Newcastle Trust, and although I had some distance to commute felt this was the best place to start my nursing career, gain confidence and experience. I stayed in this post until I had my son in 2011. Due to life changes, the original hospital becoming the Great Northern Children’s Hospital, ward merges and ever-growing pressures, I decided this was a perfect time for a change.
The next stage in my career was as a staff nurse working alongside the school nursing team closer to home (and better hours!!) There were many elements of this job that I absolutely loved, but I began to miss the clinical element of nursing and was worried about de-skilling so early in my career.
As a result, I decided I would try my hand at my other passion; A&E. I returned to the Great Northern Children’s Hospital and worked on the adjoining side of the A&E Department in the Assessment and Treatment Unit and Day Unit. I absolutely loved this job. It was fast paced, I learnt new skills every day, and no two shifts were ever the same. Unfortunately, moral was extremely low due to management issues, and staff retention was very much a problem. Although I enjoyed the job, being a mother of two young children, long hours in a stressful environment become all too much. It was at this turning point in my life that I had to reassess everything, and this is when acupuncture went from an idea into a reality!
What would I have done differently?
I am a great believer that good or bad, the jobs that I have had have all contributed to my skill set and made me the person that I am today. If I had my time again, I still would have done my nursing as it has complimented my role as a Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist.
On reflection, following my maternity leave, maybe moving to a more local hospital might have alleviated some of the pressures I felt from the commuting, child care strains, and the emotional strains of juggling everything.
What advice would you offer?
Based on where I am today in my life, I would say that if you find your passion for nursing starting to waver, not to be afraid to try something new. This could be in a completely different field of nursing/ part of the health sector, or even a complete career change. The skills you have gained as a nurse, both clinical and non-clinical never leave you, and it’s amazing how these skills transfer to your new role. I don’t ever look back and think I have wasted time being a nurse, it is still one of the best things I have ever done, as I say; ‘once a nurse, always a nurse’.
Who offered you the best career advice… and did you take it?
I would say that the best career advice came from my mum, dad and husband when deliberating on whether to leave the nursing profession to become an acupuncturist. Obviously, there were lots of pros and cons to consider, and I listened to them all. Luckily, we were all unanimous about the idea, which made this particular decision a very easy one to make.
What have you liked least about your working life?
I would say that any job is hard when you are a working mum but my lowest moments have come from poor managers turning a job that you love into one that you resent. This includes issues regarding low morale, poor skill mix and staff shortages, inappropriate break times or lack of, and late issuing of off duty making it difficult to organise child care and your life!!!
What have you enjoyed most?
My very first job as a staff nurse working on a neonatal surgical ward. The manager was amazing, which in turn made it a great place to work. I enjoyed the role and developing my skills as a newly qualified nurse over the years. Most importantly, I loved the team in which I belonged. I remember thinking how lucky I was to do a job that I loved so much.
Today in my role as an acupuncturist, after qualifying from the Northern College of Acupuncture, I love being able to give my clients 100% of my time with no pressures or distractions. I appreciate that I am able take a holistic approach to assessment and treatment of one’s individual health, as in nursing this was an impossibility. Ultimatly, I love being my own boss and having a better work-life balance!
11 Quarry Farm Close,
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