Real-life story - Luke Watson

Luke loves his role as a nurse cadet because he has a direct influence on a person’s health and he gets to work with a range of healthcare staff. 

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Luke Watson Nurse cadet
Employer or university Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead
Salary range £10k-£20k

Getting started

Initially I was interested in being a paramedic after getting my BTEC National Diploma in Sport and Exercise Sciences, but I decided to try and get some healthcare experience in a hospital first. 

I was successful in getting a healthcare assistant apprenticeship and working in the A&E department for 13 months gave me a real feel for the health sector. I loved every minute! 

I decided to pursue a career in nursing and when a new cadetship course started at the trust, I jumped at the chance to get a place as a way to acquire the necessary qualifications and experience to apply for university. The cadetship has allowed me to gain enough UCAS points to apply for a degree in adult nursing, while keeping my practical skills ‘sharp’. 

What I do

As cadets, we have placements in various wards and assist with patient mobility, personal care and patients’ individual health needs. Working with the nursing staff, I may also assist with procedures such as catheter care and monitoring blood pressure and temperature. I also monitor dietary and fluid intake and help patients with feeding if they need it. 

I help lots of different healthcare professionals with their daily tasks: everyone from nurses, doctors and healthcare assistants to porters, housekeepers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. I’ve worked in many different departments and wards around the hospital – for example medical, haematology, gastroenterology, surgical, orthopaedics, palliative care, and community and day case departments - which means I’ve cared for many different types of patients. 

Best bits and challenges

The thing I enjoy most is providing individual patient care. Having a direct influence on a person’s health is very fulfilling and I love watching a person progress and improve from admission to discharge. I build a rapport with both the patients and their families; this gives me an insight into how they live at home so we can help improve their health, living environment and social circumstances.

Next steps

Looking ahead, I hope to qualify and register as an adult nurse and progress up the career ladder to a charge nurse role.

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