My job

60 seconds with clinical nurse specialist in stroke Ismalia de Sousa

Never let anyone tell you that ‘you can’t do it’, says clinical nurse specialist in stroke Ismalia de Sousa.

Never let anyone tell you that ‘you can’t do it’, says clinical nurse specialist in stroke Ismalia de Sousa

Picture: David Gee

Ismalia de Sousa qualified as a registered general nurse in Portugal in 2009, aged 21, and moved to the UK the same year. Her first staff nurse job was in the hyper-acute stroke unit at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. She has also worked in the trust’s acute stroke unit and medical units, and is currently a band 7 clinical nurse specialist in stroke, a post she has held at Imperial for the past three years. She is also on the RCN neuroscience forum steering committee, a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, and an RCN representative for the Intercollegiate Stroke Working Party group.

What are your main work responsibilities?

My work has five dimensions: clinical expertise, research and audit, quality and service improvement, staff and patient education, and consultancy.

How did you get your job?

A band 6 clinical nurse specialist post arose while I was a staff nurse at the trust. Having already started my master’s degree in neuroscience nursing, I applied and was offered the position.

Who are your clients/patients?

People who have had a stroke, their families and carers.

What do you love about your job?

Seeing people recover from a stroke, and ensuring they get the best care possible.

What do you find most difficult?

When a patient presents at hospital with a large stroke and there is no emergency lifesaving treatment you can provide.

What is your top priority at work?

Ensuring that excellent care is at the heart of what everyone does.

How have you developed your skills in this role?

Undertaking a master’s, along with self-learning, shadowing and asking questions.

If you hadn’t become a nurse, what would you have done instead?

Probably a teacher or psychologist.

What will be your next career move?

I’m looking at becoming a nurse practitioner and thinking about when I should start my PhD.

What is the best lesson nursing has taught you?

To appreciate my loved ones even more.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Never let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t do it’.


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