Name: Emily Guilmant
Degree and university:Completing BSc (Hons) Children’s Nursing degree at London Southbank University.
Job Title: Senior Staff Nurse, Children and Young People’s Day Care Unit – University College London Hospital.
Were you always interested in nursing/social care?
From the age of 14, I knew I wanted to work with children, and nursing seemed to be a good choice.
What factors made you decide on your particular university/degree?
When I qualified as a nurse in 2000, I wanted to do nothing but nurse; I had done my three years in university doing my Diploma in Nursing – had had my time with the books and wanted to ‘do’ the job. However, about three years later, I began to develop my career, and had a desire to improve my qualifications, and so started the postgraduate degree programme, part-time, funded by my employers.
Can you describe exactly what you do?
Daily we prepare children for tests, treatment and surgery, perform tests and observe the children and young people during their recovery, and prepare them and their family for discharge. This involves liaison and communication with over 10 teams per day, plus making sure we have all the information we need to prepare for the next day’s families so that things run smoothly for everyone.
Would you undertake further study to help your career progression?
Yes I would, but I’m not sure what that may be yet. My degree part-time has taken me five years to complete – I think I might have a rest before thinking about what’s next!
What do you most like about what you do and are there any downsides?
I enjoy engaging with the patients and families and trying to build bonds with them in a short amount of time. It’s nice to know that we are working in a service designed to keep children in hospital for only the shortest amount of time so they can get back to ‘normality’ as quickly as possible. I enjoy working in a team that is dedicated to the well-being of children and young people who need very different care to that of adults. However, the long hours on your feet take their toll. There can be a huge emotional toll to the work that we do.
What do you believe you gain personally from your career?
I have great friends made during my career who all share my sense of humour – it helps!
What qualities do you need to succeed at what you do?
Flexibility to meet the ever-changing demands of the job; patience; good communication skills, and a sense of humour go a long way to help you do your job.
What would be your best piece of advice for people wanting to enter this sector?
Think about the long hours, the stress, frustration and sheer hard work and emotion that is involved in being a children’s nurse. If you’re still thinking about making children better, improving their everyday health and well-being and having fun at work – it’s the right job for you!