My job

'Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity'

New head of children, young people and transition at NHS Improvement Angela Horsley so enjoys her work that she has only had three days off sick in 38 years.

New head of children, young people and transition at NHS Improvement Angela Horsley so enjoys her work that she has only had three days off sick in 38 years.

Why did you become a children’s nurse?

During my state registered nurse training, I did an eight-week placement on an orthopaedic and ear, nose and throat ward. There was an eight-year-old patient who had Perthes' disease. I cared for him pre- and post-operatively. During most of this time his parents and younger sister were at his bedside. I realised the importance of not only caring for the patient, but the importance of involving all of the family. Effective communication for all family members is vital.

What might you have done otherwise?

From the age of 14, I wanted to be a nurse. I fractured my arm after roller skating down a steep hill. While in the emergency department, I watched a nurse at work and decided on nursing as a career, so I turned to my mum and let her know. The rest is history.

Where did you train?

I did my training in Birmingham.

What is your current job?

I have just become head of children, young people and transition at NHS Improvement.

Where have you worked previously?

I have held a variety of roles. I have worked in Nottingham, Birmingham, Greenwich, Great Ormond Street and East Kent. I have taught neonatology in Oman and I commissioned the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital in 2004. I have worked as the senior nurse for children and young people in NHS England and was the head of the clinical network for maternity and children in the East Midlands.

What do you enjoy most about it?

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my roles, and have only had three days off sick since October 1979. I have worked with some great teams and individuals.

What is the greatest challenge?

To keep the health and social care of children and young people high on the agenda 

What could you change if you could?

It is evident that over the past ten years there has been a massive increase in the number of children and young people who are presenting at emergency departments with mental health issues. We need to ensure that our nurses are appropriately prepared for this.

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

To be in a role where I can continue to influence and advocate on behalf of children and young people and therefore improve the health outcomes for them.

What qualities do you think a good children’s nurse should possess?

Passion to make a difference and to want to continually improve the patient experience. The ability to include the family and patients in decision making, which requires a variety of communication methods.

Integrity and the ability to put yourself in other’s shoes. The ability to demonstrate compassionate care and leadership at every level.

What inspires you?

Nurses who never give up in their quest to improve health outcomes for their patients, and go over and above to achieve that. Parents and families who advocate on behalf of their loved ones to get the best treatment and care. Seeing team members fulfilling their potential.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

I am a keen gardener and cyclist.

What achievements are you proudest of?

To lead the tour for Queen Elizabeth when she officially opened the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital. To witness team members go on to do great things when I have invested time and encouragement, and coached and supported them to develop their talent. I have also cycled from Land's End to John O’Groats and London to Nice.

What advice would give a newly qualified children’s nurse?

Enjoy your career and make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. Never stop learning. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

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