Spotlight On... Gillian Woodward

Why are you studying Adult Nursing in Bangor?

I have a mix of personal and altruistic reasons. For myself I am hoping for fulfilling work, increased job security, financial stability, personal growth, the opportunity to work abroad in the future and varied career choices. Altruistically, I hope that I am able to make a positive difference to other people's lives and truly believe that small actions can mean a great deal. Life has taken me in some very strange directions and I have wanted to do this for a very long time. I am truly grateful that I now have the opportunity to be on this course and feel that I am exactly where I am meant to be

Where were you working prior to starting the course?

I was working as a community support worker. I have received wonderful feedback from the people I support. I feel passionate about advocating on behalf of vulnerable people and have found that in my small way I seem to have a 'natural' talent for supporting people and for 'reading' their body language and for communicating with them on a level of trust.

What has life taught you so far?

Life has taught me to remember to say thank you and that memories are more precious than possessions. Also that life is fleeting and precious and that none of us truly know what tomorrow may bring. Life can be unbearably sweet and unbearably cruel. There is no understanding why some people have to bear so much suffering and pain so all we can do is try in our small ways to alleviate the suffering we encounter. The only way I keep relatively sane in this overwhelmingly topsy-turvy world is the belief that every small action is important and is all that we can reasonably do.

What do you believe in?

I believe in constantly living my truth, as I see and feel it, and in trying to do no harm. I believe in speaking out against injustice when the moment arises, however small and inconsequential the action or words may seem at the time. I believe in trying to not let fear silence or paralyse me.

What would you like to achieve?

A life where I feel I have been true to my ideals and not strayed. In specific terms I don't yet know exactly what I would like to achieve beyond being a competent and caring professional who is able to support people through difficult times. Although I love working in the community and do feel drawn to continuing to work in this capacity I have come to this course with an open mind.

What do you feel passionate about?

Prevention seems so much better than cure and health promotion is an area I feel passionate about. I am also fascinated by ethical decision making and would love to somehow be involved in this area. I would also absolutely love to see the implementation of a dedicated palliative homecare service in North Wales as I believe that assisting someone to die in their own home, if they so wish, is a wonderful gift. Finally it may sound really strange but I would love to do research into improving catheters as this one intervention seems to cause so much unnecessary suffering and there seems to be huge scope for improvement.

What challenges are you facing as a student nurse?

Demands on time, maternal guilt and responsibilities, time management. Financial pressures. Ill mother. Slower brain. Needing an extra day between Saturday and Sunday. (Time, time, time....)

What do you do to relax?

I enjoy taking the dog for a walk, watching a film with my boys, and listening to an audio book while cooking. I absolutely love going camping with no electricity and turning off my phone. The clifftops of Aberdaron is one of my favourite places, or possibly the Isle of Mull - anywhere where I can hear the waves.