Juggling multiple tasks
Nick Castle says he 'stumbled into' emergency nursing
Emergency and resuscitation nurse consultant Nick Castle is assistant executive director and head of professions at Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service in Qatar
My background was in critical intensive care nursing but I was also part of the clinical management team at Wembley Stadium before 2000 so I stumbled into emergency nursing.
I made a decision at 14 to go into nursing. While waiting to start training, I worked with my dad on building sites. Despite acquiring the nickname Florence, for obvious reasons, I have never looked back.
My area of interest was treating critically ill or injured patients, so I brought my intensive and critical care unit knowledge into the resuscitation room. I then started managing and caring for patients in majors and the pre-hospital arena. I was lucky to work in a progressive hospital at Frimley Park, and as a dual-registered nurse and paramedic. I also gained pre-hospital critical care experience in South Africa, where I maintain academic links.
As head of professions for Hamad Medical Corporation Ambulance Service, I have my ideal job. I can draw on 32 years of experience in an exciting role leading an excellent team of clinicians.
Working in a clinically-led service where most executives are clinicians and where even a small change can have a massive impact on patient care.
There have been many challenges, but I have always had the support of my director of nursing, and my wife and close friends. I have learnt to identify the battles worth fighting, always put patient care first, and remember that the people you meet on the way up are the same people you meet on the way down.
I have been in this role for only six months, but my five-year plan is to work towards the World Cup in 2022 and ensure my daughters surpass my academic achievements.
Making good clinicians great clinicians.
The team I left behind at Frimley Park and the team I have inherited, many of whom are former students of mine, when I moved to Qatar.
This is one of my many failings, but relaxing in Cyprus with my wife and grown-up daughters is something I always look forward too.
On a professional level, two people. First, my previous director of nursing, Mary Dunne, who always knew the right thing to say to encourage me or clip my wings, and who always stood by me. Second, world-famous British cardiologist Professor Douglas Chamberlain, who revolutionised pre-hospital clinical care and founded the first paramedic unit in Europe in 1971. He has achieved so much in the field of resuscitation, and can enthuse people and bring them along with his ideas.
Being part octopus so you can juggle multiple tasks!
This annoys me more than keeping me awake, but it is the ill-informed, reactionary approach of the UK media to healthcare issues which stifles sensible discussion due to shroud-waving.
Take time to learn your trade and remember basic nursing care comes before intravenous cannulation.
The changing nature of our patient population, which increasingly comprises frail older people, at a time of reducing social care budgets.