Doris Corkin: 'My students’ achievements inspire me greatly'
Senior lecturer in education at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast Doris Corkin discusses her career
What is your job?
I am a senior lecturer in education at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast. My role is to provide academic leadership in developing and delivering an innovative educational programme in children’s nursing, while teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. I also supervise MSc students and appraise and mentor new staff. I engage in scholarship and interprofessional education, facilitating simulated learning, presenting at national and international conferences and organising local study events.
I really appreciate my teaching job, though it can be demanding. I also enjoy my position as chair of the RCN children and young people’s specialist care forum.
Why did you become a children’s nurse?
As a young child I enjoyed role play and I remember dressing up in a nurse’s uniform and during my teenage years I regularly looked after my nieces and nephews.
What might you have done otherwise?
During secondary school I developed a flare for baking – my savoury pies and fruit tarts were a hit with family members – and I thought I might like to run my own coffee shop one day.
Where have you worked previously?
After training as an adult nurse, my first job was in the emergency department of Belfast City Hospital. I enjoyed my experiences in the neonatal unit at Craigavon Area Hospital before undertaking a neonatal course. I was then encouraged to undertake a children’s nursing diploma which led to a degree in community children’s nursing and a teaching qualification from the University of Ulster.
I also established a new community children’s nursing service for the Down Lisburn Health and Social Services Trust in County Antrim in the early 2000s.
What do you enjoy most about your career?
Throughout my career, I have worked with many talented and dedicated colleagues. I’ve also had the opportunity to have a direct influence on the future of nursing and I have been in the privileged position of caring for sick and dying children, young people and their families.
What would you change if you could?
It is sometimes difficult to find a work-life balance, and I have always been in a state of transition: progressing along a career path and coping with organisational change.
What qualities do you think a good children’s nurse should possess?
Some time ago, I and a colleague asked this question to a group of young people who had been ill. They said they appreciated being cared for by a ‘smiling nurse' who was ‘kind to them and their family’.
What inspires you?
My daughter being on a path to success. My students’ achievements inspire me greatly when they publish articles and receive nursing awards from UK children's charity WellChild and the RCN.
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
Spending weekends with my mother who is 94, and having fun with my two adorable grandchildren. I also enjoy gardening and holidays abroad with family and friends. I aspire to lead a long, healthy and active life.
What achievement are you proudest of?
I’m very proud to be a member of the nursing family and being among such great company. I’m delighted to have been nominated for awards – and won them. I have also had the pleasure of meeting three members of the royal family during my career.
What advice would you give a newly-qualified children’s nurse?
It takes a resilient, committed, caring and compassionate person to remain a children’s nurse.
Embrace independent reading and research, and remember that nursing is a vital and unique profession.