Lorraine Robertson, Head of Mental Health Nursing and Prison Healthcare

Describe a typical day at work

I come in with all the best laid plans which rarely get achieved due to other competing demands. Since Covid-19 my typical day has changed from being very visible within the mental health clinical areas to being attached to a computer screen with huge headphones on. Never in a million years did I think I would be sat in front of a computer speaking and laughing away to it !!!

How did you arrive in your current post?

Honestly? By default. I was never interested in being a nurse. It’s quite ironic because I would faint at the sight of blood; kicked and screamed when it was time for vaccinations at the school and, most concerning, faint if I had to enter any hospital or dental setting due to the smell.

I really wanted to be an air hostess (even though I had never been on a plane and eventually found out I was scared of flying at the age of 20!). However, I was too small and wore glasses. I then wanted to join the police but again I was too small and didn’t have perfect eyesight. There is a definite theme going on here – uniforms !!! I do wonder if my preferred career choices were all about the uniform and not the actual job! On reflection I think I had a ‘thing’ with uniforms and I love to dress up in fancy dress and that’s why I applied to become a nurse. I actually trained and worked as a general adult nurse. My first post was in an orthopaedic ward but I continually got into trouble for talking too much to the patients. One orthopaedic SCN eventually suggested that I would be a better psychiatric nurse so off I went. Never got the chance to thank her but it was the best move ever.

What do you think is your best quality?

I like to think that I am down to earth and genuinely care about other people’s feelings.

What personality trait do you most deplore in yourself?

I always apologise first.

What is your most treasured possession and why?

A photo album that has photos of both my parents and my siblings.

Favourite fashion item?

That’s easy. I love shoes and “Peach” designer handbags. A lady can never have enough of these.

The last great book you read and enjoyed – and why?

Both of You by Adele Parks. It’s about a woman who is a bigamist and has lived two very different lifestyles but gets found out and is held captive to punish her. Not finished it yet so don’t know who has held her captive. So many twists and turns, I would definitely recommend it.

Best laugh ever?

I’ve had the most amazing laughs with my fellow colleague Fiona Gordon when we shared an office. I remember they were refurbishing the toilets and they took the pans out temporarily. Fiona brought them into the office to be used as chairs. Never laughed so much. We have photos as evidence.

Your desert-island essential?

A dinghy boat!!!

What is your pet hate?

I hate people who are rude.

The song that gets you on the dance floor?

“Red Light” by Billy Ocean. Love a bit Northern soul.

What’s the top of your bucket list?

I would love to go on a safari and see male lions in the wild and I would also like to do a cruise around the Arctic circle.

Best decision you have ever made?

Can I have two? First best decision was to have my boys because I always said I didn’t want any children. Being a Mum has been the best life experience I have ever encountered and becoming a nurse is my second-best decision even though I fell into it by default!