Sana Chaudhry, Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist at Cromwell Hospital, shares career advice to become a successful nurse.
Every qualified nurse who starts off in the nursing career needs to gain real ‘hands on’ experience. I took a deep dive during the first year after qualifying as a nurse, going straight into Emergency Care Nursing on a busy Accident and Emergency Department. It was here where I gained my confidence and fundamental nursing skills. Sometimes being thrown into the deep end allows one to test their true potential – it becomes a matter of ‘’will I sink or swim.’’
My sincere career advice to nurses who want to progress in their profession is to gain as much experience as possible in different specialties of nursing. Nursing is so vast and branches out into different areas. For example, oncology nursing alone has many tumour sites that one can specialise in such as breast, head and neck cancer, haematology, the list is exhaustive.
After a year in Accident and Emergency, I realised Oncology nursing is a specialty I wanted to pursue further because this is where one has the privilege to care and manage patients and their families/carers at their most vulnerable. This is something that I felt was lacking as an emergency care nurse because in Accident and Emergency it was about stabilizing the patient in a few hours and maybe never seeing them again as they are transferred to ward or discharged.
Even though there is nothing wrong in being a ward nurse, I would encourage all nurses to go that little bit further and engage in learning and development courses that specialise in an area of interest to you. It was by doing this that I progressed in my career to become a Breast Clinical Nurse Specialist (BCNS).
It is a rewarding and a fulfilling role that I am in in right now, working closely with health care professionals and a multidisciplinary team (MDT) consisting of medical and clinical oncologists, surgeons, other specialist nurses, radiologists, physiotherapists just to name a few. Becoming a BCNS has given me confidence to work autonomously, whereby I have my own patient cases that I manage and care for. It is a confidence booster being an advocate for your patients in breast MDT meetings and having your voice heard and respected by the wider MDT.
To summarise, go out there and exercise your full potential. Where there is a Will, there is a Way! My advice is ‘’Never stop learning because life never stops teaching.’’