'I'M JUST SO PLEASED TO GET BACK TO NURSING...'.
Amanda Reed is back where she belongs and in the job she always dreamed of since her early teens. But it was 30 years ago that Amanda took her first nervous steps onto a hospital ward as a trainee nurse, setting out on a career that has gone full circle. For after rising to the dizzy heights as a senior sister at just 24 years old Amanda is today starting out again as a staff nurse having taken a long family break from the NHS. Amanda, 48, is one of a new breed of nurses who have been tempted back into the job, bringing with her a wealth of much-needed skills as well as a special outlook that only comes from age and experience. The drive to attract former nurses like Amanda back onto the wards has become a priority for hospitals across Wales in a bid to fill hundreds of vacancies and reduce the crippling cost of employing private agency staff. 'I was just pleased to get back into nursing and have had fantastic support from other nurses - most of them younger than me. They've been great,' said Amanda. 'Obviously things have changed over the years - there's a lot of new equipment on the wards and the paperwork has increased dramatically, but I'm enjoying it.' All this is a far cry from her early days when Amanda, who was brought up in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, moved to Cardiff to start her training at the city's University Hospital of Wales. This was followed by spells at Cardiff Royal Infirmary and hospitals in Bristol and London. Her career was moving along at a pace and, when she was just 24, she became one of the youngest nurses in the UK to reach the heights of the sister grade. Amanda returned to Cardiff in 1982, working with medical and geriatric patients until she decided to start a family. Ellie was born 16 years ago and son Johnny is now aged 14. 'I tried working part-time in hospital but after the birth of Johnny I gave up work altogether for nearly a year,' said Amanda, who lives in Danescourt, Cardiff.
But Amanda was then able to juggle motherhood with a new career and took up a post as a part-time lecturer in child health at Cardiff's Coleg Glan Hafren.
This arrangement was to last almost 13 years and worked well until Amanda was the victim of cutbacks.
'As a part-timer I drew the short straw and was made redundant but I had been thinking of changing careers before this hap- pened,' she said.
And ironically, that change of career turned out to be back to square one as Amanda enrolled for a 12- week return-to-nursing course, which is run by the Cardiff and Vale Trust for ex-nurses to help them get up to date with the latest nursing developments.
'It was with the support of my husband Geoff that I decided to get back into nursing,' added Amanda.
'He was keen for me to take the job despite the abnormal hours and I'm pleased I did.'
Kath Elias, the recruitment advisor at the Trust, said: 'Amanda's a great example of who we'd like to encourage back to nursing and we hope they will come along to our open day next Friday to find out just how easy it is.'
If you can't make the open day but would like more details about the Return to Nursing course, call 029 2074 3873.'