Five things I wish I knew before I started

Pauline McLean, Clinical Consultant

In our new series, we ask our key thought leaders to share a more personal perspective on their career journey and current position.

Pauline McLean is a Clinical Consultant and Clinical Safety Officer based in our Glasgow office. Pauline has 23 years’ experience working in the NHS, the last five years of which were within eHealth implementing Orion Health Clinical Portal to NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde. Pauline joined Orion Health in 2014 and remains a registered nurse.

At 17, Pauline wanted to be a nurse, but as life would have it, she didn’t realise that dream until many years later!  

Can you share with us five things you wish you knew before you started out?

Studying wasn’t over just because I qualified. 
Every day is a learning opportunity, and to do your best, you have to get to grips with the challenges and just get on with it! Learning never stops, and we should never stop teaching.  

It is important to be professional, compassionate, honest and open and maintain your integrity.  
Nursing has taught me not to judge based on preconceptions; it led me to challenge them and ask that question children are so fond of…. ‘why’. I never want to be asked why I didn’t do the right thing.

The role of a nurse can be very diverse. 
I recall a lecturer saying how different we would feel once we put on the uniform and learned ‘on the job’! What I didn’t appreciate were the many skills I would pick up and how useful my talents would be. Some of these included hairdressing, family liaison, personal assistant, social convenor and wedding planner (all while wearing the uniform). Nursing offers opportunities to take clinical skills and experience in a multitude of diverse directions, none of which lose sight of the reason we become f healthcare providers in the first place – the people we advocate on behalf of (aka patients).

How precious and long-lasting my memories would be.  
I’ve kept the notes and cards I’ve received over the years and still recall faces and stories. I forged long-lasting friendships with my colleagues and learned valuable life lessons from incredible people from all walks of life.

The impact on my family.
From the shifts, regimented routine, being ruled by the clock, being ridiculously organised, missed celebrations, exhaustion and exhilaration, we were all impacted. But, we made it, and we all have our own stories to tell! 
Had I known all this at the start of my career I doubt I would have changed my mind; after all, I made the choices, and they were in it with me, and I couldn’t have done it without them. 


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