Dr Amelia Swift
Senior Lecturer | School of Nursing
When I was 18 my boyfriend had a horrific car crash and ended up in hospital for many months being treated for a head injury and multiple broken bones. Up until then I hadn’t really thought of nursing as a potential career and was destined to become either a marine biologist or a psychologist – you can tell I didn’t have very strong idea of what I wanted to do. Seeing Bernie helpless and in pain, and feeling pretty useless made me frustrated and I wanted to do something to address that feeling.
My dad was a very senior nurse manager and my mum had tried nursing and hated it. They didn’t much approve of my relationship with Bernie, less so after his accident left him disabled and suffering from seizures. My dedication to Bernie contributed to very poor results in my A-levels and I had to re-sit two of them the following year. I thought the news that I was thinking about a career as a nurse would not be well received, but when I told them my Mum said ‘Oh yes, you would make a great nurse, I don’t know why you didn’t think of that before’. In my interview at the nursing school in Leicester I think my passion for people carried me through – it certainly wasn’t my academic record.
Dr Amelia Swift
“From the moment I stepped foot on a ward I knew I had made the right decision. I loved caring for the patients and I admired so many of the staff I met. My academic skills developed more slowly than my clinical skills but I was helped by having a strong work ethic and an inability to give up.”
I had great experiences (mental health placement) and terrible experiences (children’s placement), and finally ended up in a surgical ward as a staff nurse. The ward sister of an adjacent ward had a terrifying reputation and I remember her being astonished when on my first day as a qualified nurse I looked smart and professional – never a strength of mine as a student.
I have worked in surgical wards, intensive care, and as a nurse specialist in chronic pain. I have never lost my passion for nursing and doing my best for patients. I always loved to teach and to learn and a move into education was kind of inevitable. I am surprised, given my earlier academic struggles, that I have now got a PhD. But I think my own experiences help me empathise with students and I love to teach and support others to do their best for their patients and clients.
My Dad wonders whether he should have advised me to take a different career path, he wonders whether I should have been a physiotherapist. Much as I love my Allied Health Professional colleagues I am proud to be a nurse, and I know I made the right decision. I worry about all sorts of things that nurses must cope with now, but I know from speaking to many of them that they feel the same way I do – passionate about patient care.
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