International Nurses Day: catching up with our Chief Nurse, Alison Robertson

Saturday 12 May is International Nurses Day, a day when the global health community joins together to celebrate the contribution that nurses make around the world. The theme this year focuses on the vital leadership role that nurses can play in championing ‘health as a human right’. We caught up with our own Chief Nurse, Alison Robertson, to take the temperature of this vital profession. 

What are your messages to nursing staff across Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) this International Nurses Day?

"International Nurses Day (IND) is an important day to give ourselves a moment to pause and to recognise everything we've achieved. It can be easy to focus on the things that haven't gone so well and IND is a great opportunity for us to stop and take stock, come together as a professional group and really celebrate what a great profession nursing is, how much impact we make to our organisation and to the lives of all the patients and families we look after."

Thinking about people who are considering nursing as their profession, why should they join?

"It's a great privilege to be able to provide care to children and families when they're at their most vulnerable.

"For me, I would genuinely say it's been a great career and I've never thought or contemplated doing anything else. Nursing is such a broad and varied career and I think a lot of it is about finding your niche within the profession, taking the time to find how you want to contribute, what you want to get out of it as much as what you want to put into it. As your life changes, you can flex and adapt your contribution and your career intentions alongside other commitments in your life.

"At GOSH, there's never a dull moment and there are so many stimulating and challenging opportunities within nursing here. We have to continue to challenge ourselves and continue to evolve alongside the changing landscape of healthcare technology and continue to meet patients' needs in this ever changing complicated we live in."

Alison Robertson, GOSH Chief Nurse

Specifically, why should they consider GOSH?

"GOSH has so much to offer if you’re interested in children's nursing. As well as our strong national and international reputation, there are so many opportunities to develop your skills and competencies across our 63 paediatric specialities.

"For us as an organisation, we're keen to strike that balance between novice and expert. We absolutely want to continue attracting newly qualified nurses but it's also crucial we retain the expertise we already have. This is why we have such a strong focus on both recruiting new members of our team and retaining our experienced staff."

Bearing in mind that the theme of International Nurses Day this year is “Nurses: a voice to lead - health is a human right" how does this reflect what you want to achieve at GOSH, and having joined relatively recently what impresses you about the nursing cohort at GOSH?

"Nursing as a profession is such an integral part of that contribution to the expectation that society looks after those whose health is failing. We're part of that system and part of that team that provides support. I absolutely believe we should be doing all that we can to give people the opportunity to either recover or achieve their potential best. I feel really strongly that if we’re kind and compassionate towards one another professionally, respecting and treating each other well, this absolutely translates into the care we give our patients.

"We should be very proud of what we do here at GOSH and I think our team offers a real energy. If we work as a group and take pride in what we do we will continue to strengthen nursing, improve our profile and have a voice."

Many thanks Alison and if you’re interested in joining our amazing nursing team here at GOSH to make a difference for seriously ill children, access our nursing area.