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District Nurse - Kathie Davey

Kathie is a Registered General Nurse working in the community setting – you probably know this role as a 'District Nurse'. Her life experience is an inspiration to everyone who has a career dream but has not been given the advice and encouragement they deserve.

Kathie’s school years were not rewarded by significant academic success. At the time she left school, her career teacher advised that she forsake her dream of becoming a nurse and concentrate on non-skilled manual labour. She reluctantly took the advice and worked for several years as a pre-pack worker and shop assistant.

When her second child was about to start school, Kathie determined that she would do everything possible to become a nurse. She applied to a night college where she studied and passed GCSE maths and English and from there she did a one-year Access to Higher Education course.

After much hard work and considerable determination, Kathie fulfilled her dream to become a registered nurse and would like to see her careers teacher again to say, “Look at me now”!

Key Advice from Kathie

  1. Don’t be put off by people who underestimate your abilities. If you want to do it enough, you’ll do it
  2. There are ways into nursing other than the traditional academic route
  3. Try and get some early experience of what is entailed - becoming a healthcare worker or a carer is a good start
  4. You need to accept that there will often be time pressures and you need to be able to rise to the challenge of dealing with these

Nursing as a Career

Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career but it is often not as glamorous as portrayed on TV. As well as smart uniforms and enjoyable working environments you will also have to deal with bedpans and sutures! In addition, you might frequently be called upon to help terminally-ill patients and therefore inner resilience is a necessity.

Nowadays you will usually need a degree in nursing and in order to get a university place, you’ll need around five GCSEs (including English, maths and a science) plus two A-levels or equivalent.

More flexible routes into nursing are available in the form of apprenticeships. These involve academic study at degree level and on average it takes four years to complete a course.

Newly-qualified nurses can expect to earn around £23,000 a year increasing to around £34,000 a year with experience. Nursing often opens the way to higher grade opportunities such as a hospital matron where annual salaries will usually be in the region of £50,000.

For further information visit the Royal College of Nursing.

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