What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be a medical doctor (neurosurgeon) and nursed this dream even as I left high school. My motivation came from reading two books by Dr Benjamin Carson: Gifted Hands (1) and Think Big (2).
I read both books cover to cover four times each in two years; it was a great inspiration. However, I became a nurse, I guess because my mum is a nurse and I admire her so much and that is why I followed her steps.
Can you describe your work/what you do in 1 sentence?
I triage, stream and redirect patients to alternative services rather than waiting in the emergency department.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I triage and stream patients in my department, so I direct their care journeys and I’m not solely involved in direct patient care.
I've provided direct one-on-one care in my previous roles but I enjoy the coordinating and managerial aspects of nursing, where I can make high-level decisions. I decide who a patient is suitable to be seen by and where the patient should be, for example, patients with less acuity can be streamed to speciality, same-day emergency care, or to GPs, online GPs etc.
As I work in urgent care, there is regular throughput (because we utilise NHS Livi and GPs, who tend to see patients quicker than in the emergency department) so patients are seen and sent home within 15 minutes to 4 hours — this excites me.
What are the main 3 factors that make you frustrated at work?
IT issues – especially downtime; patients who don’t attend; and some staff not attending to duties assigned to them, or disregarding tasks required, for example, a pregnancy test that is needed before a referral to a specialist team.
What qualities do you think you need to do your job well?
You need assertiveness, decisiveness, good clinical risk-assessment and time management, as well as effective communication.
What 3 words would your colleagues use to describe you?
Proactive; adaptable; a fast learner.
What has been your best career move?
My best career move was relocating to the UK from Nigeria to practise.
What has been your biggest career challenge and how did you overcome it?
Moving up the career ladder should not be an issue for anyone once you have the necessary competency and experience to lead and manage other people. I thought my biggest career challenge, when I relocated to the UK, would be progressing up the career ladder, as I am from an ethnic minority.
But I overcame this challenge — I gave a band 6 role a shot and, luckily, I got the job after just a year and two months as a staff nurse in the emergency department (which is very rare). I’m already eight months into the role.
Why would you recommend your career to a young person?
I have already recommended nursing to many young people, some of whom I am mentoring. I tell them nursing is rewarding because of the knowledge you gain and the opportunity to positively influence patient outcomes and, even more widely, the healthcare sector – this century has already seen many nurse innovators. Nursing, with its multiple career pathways, also provides you with an opportunity for personal and professional growth.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever got from a patient or work colleague?
Be kind to yourself, prioritise YOU.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of career advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Always keep trying. When you make mistakes, correct them and learn, but always try again!
What do you do to relax/de-stress?
Go sightseeing with my partner; travel, chat with family, friends and colleagues; go to the movies. Also sleeping helps me unwind and refresh.
What do you hope will be your legacy to your profession and colleagues?
One of my greatest legacies will be helping colleagues find their place in the profession, as well as the lives I have contributed to saving.
Is the thought of retirement a dream or a nightmare –and why?
I would love to retire early and venture into a private business, so I don’t worry much about retirement.
Do you have a morning routine – something you always start your working day doing?
A typical lunch will be fried rice with spicy chicken and sauce prepared by myself. My break is 1 hour divided into 30 minutes each for lunch and dinner.
I don’t regret becoming a nurse although the care we provide and the time we spend with our patients is not fairly remunerated and this will make nurses search for other lucrative jobs.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I value all my items but I treasure my Samsung laptop most because of its specifications, particularly the processing speed and touch-screen feature.
Gideon Benson is a registered nurse working as an urgent treatment centre (UTC) coordinator at Eastbourne District General Hospital, East Sussex. After completing a diploma in general nursing in 2019 in Nigeria, he qualified in 2020 and has since then worked mainly in urgent care. He is currently pursuing further nursing studies at the University of Derby, hoping to specialise in advanced clinical practice and resuscitation.
He holds a diploma in Project Management in Global Health from the University of Washington. Beyond nursing, he's an avid volleyball player and a lover of nature.
(1) Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. B Carson and C Murphey. Zondervan. 30 Jan 1992
(2) Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence. B Carson and C Murphey. Zondervan. 1 Jan. 2006.