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Poonam Singh, a registered general nurse highlights the important, valuable and varied nursing roles available in the NHS

The ‘We are the NHS’ campaign is back to highlight the important, valuable and varied nursing roles available across many exciting specialisms in the NHS, and to inspire the next generation of incredible NHS nurses.

Poonam Singh, a registered general nurse who is based at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, arrived in the UK from India in 1999 after getting married, she graduated from Northumbria University in 2012 with a first-class post graduate degree in Nursing and is now part of a wider team delivering Women’s Services. Specifically, Poonam works as a sedationist for patients involved in fertility treatment.

Talking about her specialist role as a senior staff nurse, Poonam says: “As nurses, we administer medicines and assist with some medical procedures.  More generally, nurses can also develop treatment plans for patients and carry out clinical research. There is so much more to modern nursing than people expect.”

The NHS in England is raising awareness of the fact that nursing offers fantastic opportunities. Nurses have the opportunity to specialise in a broad range of roles across all areas of the NHS. As well as hospital roles, nurses can work in specialist areas including learning disabilities, mental health and community care.

Talking about her own career progression, Poonam says: “I joined the NHS in 2004 as a healthcare assistant which is a Band 2 role, I now work as a Band 6 registered general nurse. I have aspirations of working as a Senior Sister and have applied to attend the NHS Academy of Leadership Stepping Up Course, a development programme for aspiring black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) colleagues which will help me gain the skills I require to progress.

“I think my story demonstrates that career progression within nursing is a reality and through programmes such as the Stepping Up course, it’s possible to see that the infrastructure is there to help everyone achieve their ambitions.”

Reflecting on her family’s views of her career choice, Poonam says: “My family think very highly of me, especially my husband who is very supportive, and my son and daughter, who take great pride in saying our mum is a nurse at the centre for life.”

Thinking about the views of nursing within the South Asian community more generally, Poonam says: “Unfortunately, there are still many people who see nursing as a job without dignity. I have lost count of the number of people who either assume I am a doctor, or who think that if you are not a doctor, you are a nobody. Over the past ten years, things have changed and I would say that there is more respect and value for the role that nurses play than ever before, however, there’s still some way to go.

“That’s why I’m supporting the We are the NHS campaign. I want to raise awareness of the fact nursing is varied, interesting, rewarding and importantly, it’s not just a job, there is a career there for anyone who wants it.”

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