My nursing ambitions: A day at Guy’s and St Thomas’

In this blog, Anthony, Nursing Now’s Global Administrator for the Nightingale Challenge, talks about his ambitions to become a nurse and his experience shadowing nurses from Guy’s and St Thomas’.


Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to spend a day with the wonderful nurses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospital, shadowing them in the cardiac outpatient department and on a cardiac ward as they carried out their rounds.

I have always been interested in working in health, and since beginning my role at Nursing Now, I feel more motivated than ever to become a nurse. I want to have the privilege of caring for people when they are at their most vulnerable, and to return home after a shift in the knowledge that I’ve done important work that has made a positive impact on people’s lives. With that said, the prospect of this career change is daunting and I’m keen to gain as much insight and experience into the reality of nursing as possible.

My day spent at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was invaluable as it gave me the opportunity to meet and learn from a whole host of specialist nurses and doctors, healthcare assistants, patients and family members. I spent the morning with Rebecca, a specialist nurse who works in the cardiac outpatient department. She took the time to explain her nursing journey, and her role within the hospital, primarily caring for elderly patients undergoing the TAVI (transcatheter aortic valve implantation) procedure. I really enjoyed talking to the patients and learning more about this incredible procedure. I spent the afternoon with Lois, a recently qualified nurse, shadowing her on a cardiac ward. This gave me a really useful insight into the role of a newly qualified nurse and helped me to understand the variety of roles available within nursing. 

Over the course of the day, I was struck by the relationships that had formed between the nurses and patients. There was a lot of laughter on the ward which really touched me. Even in the busiest of times, the nurses made time to engage with the patients. This was a reminder of the importance of compassion and understanding that is essential to nursing in addition to clinical prowess.

In my short time spent in the nursing world, there are a couple of recurring issues that I have become aware of: nurse retention, and the severe lack of funding and resources needed for nurses to carry out the required care to the best of their ability. Next year is the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and I hope that by shedding a light on nursing, one of the most valuable and yet undervalued professions, there will be a newfound and much-deserved appreciation and understanding of the brilliant work that nurses and midwives do on a daily basis around the world. I hope that 2020 will lead to greater investment in resources and training for nurses and that the voices of nurses are heard. Policy change that sees improvement in global healthcare and the promotion of health for all is essential if we are to meet our health needs of tomorrow.