Twenty years and too many amazing candidates to mention...
Meet just a few of them here
On 11th April, Pulse Nursing celebrates its 20th anniversary. From humble beginnings we’ve grown to become one of the UK’s leading healthcare staffing agencies, working candidates worldwide. It’s been an extraordinary journey and we’ve worked with some truly exceptional nurses, midwives, operating department practioners and healthcare assistants along the way. As part of our anniversary celebrations we’ve been talking to some of them to find out about their career highlights and what they were doing back in 1996.
Monica - Cheshire - ITU nurse
I was seven years old when I decided I wanted to become a nurse. My grandma – who I looked up to - was a nurse and I also loved the idea of looking after people. When I was 18 I took an exam that meant I could begin studying to become a nurse and in 1980 I began my training at North Manchester General Hospital. When I qualified in 1982 I was elated but I wasn’t sure what field of nursing I wanted to get into. My first job was an A&E nursing job, working night shifts where I stayed for two years. In 1988 I fancied a bit of a change and moved to Saudi Arabia where I worked on the surgical wards of both military and private hospitals. During my time in Saudi Arabia I worked with nurses from all over the world and it was there that I spent a short amount of time on an intensive care ward. This time made me realise that I would love to work in intensive care, so when I came back from Saudi Arabia in 1990 I started the specialist training. I was also allowed to go on day release once a week so I could get my nursing degree from Salford University. In 1996 I joined Pulse so I could work extra agency shifts alongside my current role to get some extra money to help me save up for my mortgage.
Eva - Leeds - General nurse
I trained to become a nurse in 1995 in the Philippines. I didn’t particularly want to be a nurse but my mum encouraged me and because I was the eldest child, I wanted to help my mum and my siblings. I also thought it would put me in good stead for the future. My first nursing job was in a private hospital in the Philippines. At first I was nervous and scared but my confidence grew as I gained more experience. I came to the UK over 14 years ago and feel blessed to have a nursing job in England – I’ve experienced so many different environments and received some great training. I left the NHS in March 2016 to become a full-time agency nurse because I need more flexibility now that I have two children and other obligations.
Simon - Birmingham - Surgical nurse
I was 43 and working in construction as a supervisor when I made the decision to become a nurse. I’d started doing some care work in my spare time to give something back and realised that being a carer really suited my personality. Knowing how much I enjoyed helping people my friend, who is a doctor, suggested I give nursing a go and here I am! I began studying in 2009 at Birmingham City University and qualified in 2012. My proudest accomplishment has to be getting through university. My first job after qualifying was on a renal ward at a hospital in Birmingham. I remember feeling scared – it’s a big transition from student to nurse. I stayed on the renal ward for around six months before going on to work at various other trusts in the area before I joined Pulse in 2015. I now work in various locations, mainly on surgical wards.
Jill - Manchester - A&E nurse and in-branch interviewer for Pulse
When I was studying for my A Levels, nursing was one of the potential lines of work I was interested in. In 1981 I applied to North Staffordshire School of Nursing, got a place and gave it a go. What really helped me decide to stick with nursing was the fact that I was able to make a difference. When I finally qualified in 1984, I was very excited but also apprehensive about my first job - as a qualified nurse there’s no protection and I had to be accountable for my own actions. My first nursing job was in A&E at North Staffordshire Infirmary in January 1985 where I ended up working for around 16 years, first as a staff nurse and then a sister. In 2001 I moved into management - I loved working in a managerial role because I meant I could make a big difference to the way patients are cared for. My biggest accomplishment was achieving my degree in nursing whilst working full time - when I first qualified as a nurse you didn’t have to have a degree. I joined Pulse in 2010, working in a variety of locations as an A&E nurse – I am now also one of their in-branch interviewers.
Samme - Coventry - Healthcare assistant mentor
When I was living in Nigeria and studying business management, I spent some time looking after my Grandma. Helping her made me realise that I enjoyed looking after people and so I decided I would like to become a carer. When I finished my training I was very excited because I could now do something that I had a passion for. My first care job was in Coventry visiting people in their homes and helping them get dressed, have lunch and so on. I joined Pulse in 2006 and started working as a mentor. This involves looking after much more challenging people which I really enjoy.
Alvin - Bradford - Surgical nurse
When I was 16 I wanted to work in aircraft maintenance. It was my aunt who suggested I should become a nurse - she must’ve known it would be something I would enjoy and it also offered more opportunities to work abroad. I started my training in 1992 at the Metropolitan College of Nursing in the Philippines and I qualified as a nurse in 1996. Soon I was under pressure to find a nursing job - I’m the eldest in my family and there weren’t many opportunities for nurses in the Philippines. I moved to Singapore in 1996 where I worked on medical ward until 1999. In 2000 I moved to the UK and worked a staff nurse job in Bedford for several years. I really enjoy working on surgical wards, looking after those who are recovering from an operation. I joined Pulse in 2015 and last year won a Pulse Nursing Award (private sector). When I won the award it was so unexpected - I didn’t even expect to be nominated - It was definitely one of the highlights of my career.
Richard - Essex - Mental health healthcare assistant
Twenty years ago I was working in retail and still unsure what direction to go in. I’ve always been a people person and one of my aunts, who’s a nurse, told me I should do something that involves caring for people, so I decided follow her advice. I joined Pulse in 2014 and my first job was at St Andrew’s Healthcare looking after young adults, some of who had been in prison. My career highlight has to be when some of the young adults I was looking after asked the manager if I could come back because they really liked me. I enjoy the interaction with people’s families and getting to know the patients – I’ll make sure I take the time to sit down and chat with them. Next year I hope to start a nursing degree.
Lee - Pontefract - Medical nurse
I was a coal miner for 10 years when I decided I would like to start nursing - mainly because I wanted a profession. I started my training in 1990 at Wakefield and Pontefract School of Nursing and I qualified in 1993 - I was very excited and enthusiastic. My first job was at Pontefract General Infirmary on an orthopaedic ward where I stayed for three years. In 1996 I moved to America where I stayed for two years working in an emergency room. I moved back to the UK in 1998 because I was homesick and lived in London for the next 14 years working on various medical wards. When I turned 50 I decided that I didn’t want to work full time anymore and I wanted some flexibility - Therefore I joined Pulse in 2015. My proudest career accomplishment was being a site manager at a big London hospital. I was in this role for five years and it carried a lot of responsibility.
Matthew - London - Anaesthetics nurse
I decided I would like to work in healthcare when I came to the UK in 1988 from Trinidad and Tobago. Ten years later I was working as a porter in the London Chest Hospital where I met several specialist nurses who inspired me to become a nurse too. In 2001 I did an access course in higher education and after this started training as an operating department assistant at Anglia University. I qualified in 2005 which felt great. My first job was at Whipps Cross and I have been there ever since. I really enjoy the stability of my full-time position and I enjoy doing some agency work on my days off - it gives me the opportunity to develop my skills as a practitioner and see how other hospitals work. I mainly work in paediatric theatres and I really enjoy this speciality. My career highlights are doing my nursing job to the best of my ability and getting good feedback from my colleagues. My proudest career accomplishment is qualifying for the course at a high level and giving back to the community.
Bronwyn - London - Scrub nurse
I decided I would like to become a nurse when I was 16 - my older sister was a nurse and she inspired me. My mother was very supportive, she believed that all girls should have a career. I have lots of friends who are nurses, my daughter has recently become a nurse and my niece is a radiographer. When I was 18 I started my training at Wrexham Park and qualified in 1974. I was really excited to begin my career and was also pleased to have finished the course as my senior sister was quite strict. My first nursing job was at King Edward VII in Windsor where I stayed for two years. My career highlight was getting a photograph with Sir John Mills at the ophthalmic theatres at King Edward VII in 1998/1999 - I still have the photograph! Getting nominated for the Pulse Nursing Awards last year was also a highlight. I joined Pulse in 2001 and became a full-time agency worker in 2016.
Akua - London - Chemotherapy nurse
Growing up in Ghana I always wanted to be a chef but it wasn’t possible as my aunt fell ill and I needed to take care of her. I decided nursing would suit my situation better so started training in 1987. I’ve loved being a nurse – my career has included being a midwife in Ghana during the 90s and being a specialist nurse in haematology at Kings in the 00s. My proudest accomplishment was looking after a patient who everyone thought wouldn’t make it. She survived and went on to have children. I was so proud of the care I’d provided her. Having my children and being married have been my life highlights. My daughter has followed in my footsteps and has become a renal dialysis nurse.
Florence - London - Mental health nurse
My grandma was a nurse, my mum is a support worker and my cousins are nurses, so it was only natural that I wanted to pursue the profession. In 2006 I started training at the University of Bedfordshire and qualified in 2009. In 2012 I started working mainly for nursing agencies as I enjoy being in different locations. I love working in London – it’s very multicultural, diverse and the scenery is great. I especially like working at St Thomas’s near Big Ben and the London Eye because I can have my lunch outside and take in the surroundings. I feel very proud of my career accomplishments to date; I took part in a successful pilot in Brookside in London, I was a psychiatric liaison for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for three months, I’ve achieved a degree in public health and looking forward to completing a Masters in nutrition.
Manuela - London - ITU nurse
In 1999 I was working as a healthcare assistant. People kept on telling me I should become a nurse and one night, after having a dream telling me the same thing, I knew I had to do my training. In 2002 I began a course at Brighton University and qualified in 2005. When I qualified I felt terrified! I had the qualifications, but you don’t really learn until you do the real-life stuff - it’s a bit like driving a car. My first job was in a respiratory and cardiac ward in Tunbridge Wells; I started in 2005 and worked there until 2013. In 2006 I became ITU trained. There have been lots of career highlights. I particularly remember one in 2009 when I was looking after a lady who was very sick in ITU. The doctors said that after the weekend, if her health did not improve, they would turn off the life support machine. I felt very sad and asked my senior nurse to keep it on a week or so longer. Within the week the patient made a full recovery and got to go home shortly afterwards. I joined Pulse in 2014 and now work for them full time.
Kathryn - London - Paediatric nurse
I first decided I would like to become a nurse when I was in sixth form in Australia. I began my training in Auckland in 1976 and qualified in 1981. I was very proud of myself, looking forward to making a difference and thankful to the staff at my college of nursing who’d supported me throughout my studies. My first nursing job after qualifying was as a staff nurse in the haematology wards at Auckland hospital. In all I’ve worked in eight different countries and also across many different specialisms, but I have no particular favourite. I’ve loved all of my nursing jobs and every challenge – they’ve all enriched me. My career highlight was working in neonatal in Canada where the unit was highly specialised. The team were fantastic - we all worked together to make major differences to the babies lives. Seeing babies growing from 24 weeks onwards was amazing, especially knowing that I’d played a part. It’s also very rewarding when a family says ‘thank you’. My proudest accomplishment in work has been working as an intensive care manger; I was able to see both sides of nursing and it was a privilege to merge the two worlds together.
Thank you to all our candidates that shared their stories. If you wish to share your nursing experience, greatest accomplishments or highlights, simply post a comment below. We’ll be posting your answers on social media throughout the week.