‘It just clicked’ as a children's nurse

Award-winning continence clinical nurse specialist Joan McKenzie explains why her role as a children's nurse is so rewarding

Award-winning continence clinical nurse specialist explains why her role as a children's nurse is so rewarding.


Joan McKenzie had considered becoming a doctor when her GP told her that nurses make a bigger difference to patients and that they do most of the hard work. After starting her career in general paediatrics, Ms McKenzie is now an award-winning continence clinical nurse specialist who says that she loves the autonomy the role gives her

Why did you become a children’s nurse?

During my training (SEN) I did a placement looking after children with cystic fibrosis, liver disease, sickle cell disease and thalassaemia. It was general paediatrics in a small designated children’s hospital called the Belgrave Children’s Hospital, part of London’s King’s College Hospital. There was a real sense of togetherness between staff and families there. It had a multidisciplinary approach, which included consultants, matrons, nurses, porters, housekeeping and secretaries. Everyone made me feel welcome and part of the team.

I loved Fridays when the children came in straight from school for their blood transfusions and intravenous infusions. Some of the parents were not able to stay with their children due to other commitments or a lack of space. A fun time was had by all – watching television, playing games, messing about, taking the children out to play in the nearby park, mopping up the tears when it proved difficult to get a cannula in for their transfusions or if they were just generally unwell.

Following this experience, it just ‘clicked’. This is what I wanted to do and be. I knew that I could have an influence on their recovery, no matter how bad things were.

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This article was first published in print under the original title '‘It just clicked’' in Nursing Children and Young People: volume 27, issue 8

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