What do you do, Cath?

Cath is a consultant nurse
Colourful question marks drawn by a child

""May 2023

What is your current role?

My current role is consultant nurse in children's arrhythmia and inherited cardiovascular conditions. I’ve been in this role for four years, and I am still developing and learning. As a nurse, you never stop learning! This is one of the things I love about my job.

My role is diverse and as well as providing care to children with arrhythmias, I am involved with teaching, conducting research, and providing clinical support to other nurses and doctors.

I am also clinical group lead for nurse research. This fits really well with my consultant nurse role as research is one of the areas that is built into the role. I am new to the clinical group lead role, but I am really enjoying meeting nurses across Evelina London Children’s Hospital who are passionate about developing research skills and projects to benefit patients, want to be a nurse research champion or learn more about research.

What is your favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is developing relationships with the children I care for and their families. I have known many of the children in our arrhythmia service since they were babies, some I even looked after during my time working on our intensive care unit, so I know them and their parents really well. It’s so nice seeing these children grow up and watching them mature to be able to develop independence in managing their conditions and making decisions about their own care. It’s great when we can offer some patients definitive treatments for their arrhythmias, and we can eventually discharge them so they can lead normal lives into adulthood. I feel quite sad to say goodbye to these patients, but many of the parents keep in touch by sending me email updates and photographs, which always make me smile. One of my patients wrote to tell me after we discharged her to say that I inspired her to become a cardiac nurse and she is now pursuing a career in nursing.

What is your passion?

Gosh, I have many! I really enjoy supporting other nurses to develop professionally and to support their own academic development, especially nurses wanting to increase their scope of practice and develop in advanced nursing roles, such as clinical nurse specialists or advanced nurse practitioners. I am a strong advocate for advanced nursing practice and the benefits these roles offer patients, our NHS and the nurses developing in these roles.

I also have a passion for teaching and chocolate!

What is your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was getting through my master’s degree in advanced nursing practice and achieving a distinction for my dissertation. I conducted research looking at the “exercise habits and barriers to exercise for children diagnosed with arrhythmias”. The results of my dissertation have allowed me to develop my own practice when advising children about exercise but also have allowed me to further develop this theme as a PhD research project.

I have never considered myself to be particularly academic. I still don’t, however completing my master’s degree has allowed me to progress my career in ways I never thought I would. It’s also meant I can support others along that journey.

Outside of work, my proudest moment was crossing the finishing line at the London marathon in 2021 while raising £5000 for SADS UK charity and being an aunty to five gorgeous nieces and nephews.

What does being part of the NHS mean to you?

Being part of our National Health Service is something to be proud of. Working in a caring profession doing good for others is more than a vocation. It’s much more about the satisfaction we get from knowing we have done a good job. 

How do you relax?

This might not sound relaxing to some, but I enjoy running. This really helps me mentally and keeps me feeling happy. After a challenging day at work, a run always makes the world a better place (unless its pouring with rain!). I enjoy training for organised races, particularly half-marathons and I like the regime of preparing for a race. It keeps me motivated.

Getting into bed early with a good book is another way I like to switch off and relax.

Do you have any hobbies?

I guess running is a hobby, but I also enjoy listening to music, and going to concerts. I think it’s really important to have hobbies that help maintain work-life balance.

Tell us one fun fact about your job...

Children always appreciate someone who can be a bit silly and make them laugh, which I seem to be fairly good at! It makes them feel more comfortable during consultations and puts them at their ease if they are feeling worried. At the same time, it helps me indulge my inner child.

Colourful question marks drawn by a child

Thank you to the children and young people who have so brilliantly illustrated our blog pages.