Susan Beattie is living her health dream.
The nurse manager for the emergency department at Sunderland Royal Hospital manages a team of staff that is 125 people strong.
She co-ordinates nursing staff, nurse practitioners and health care assistants amongst others and has enjoyed management roles for 13 years of her 20 years in the profession.
But Susan’s healthwork was a dream which she realised after being a mature student.
“I did my training when I was 30,” she said.
“I did office work before that but I always wanted to be a nurse when I left school. And I am glad I did it.
I did my training when I was 30. I did office work before that but I always wanted to be a nurse when I left school. And I am glad I did it. Realising my dream is what I wanted to do.Susan Beattie
“Realising my dream is what I wanted to do.”
Now Susan gets the daily satisfaction of dealing with everything from human resources and recruitment issues to hands-on nursing.
“I have a very big department,” admitted Susan, “and we deal with 100,000 people a year and rising.”
And because her department is the first port of call for most people at the hospital, Susan admitted: “We do see a lot of raw emotion.”
Yet by the time patients move on to other parts of the hospital after that initial arrival, they often put that brief first encounter behind them.
It’s why the occasional thank you from the public - and our Sunderland Echo Health awards - are so important, said Susan.
The awards recognise the excellent work done by all aspects of the health service, whether its behind-the-scenes heroes or frontline staff.
And it’s down to our readers to make sure the very best of our health profession get the recognition they deserve.
The Sunderland Echo Health Awards are under way and we want to make this year’s competition bigger and better than ever before.
But to do that, we need your nominations in the categories listed below.
And once you submit your nominations for the heroes of health, we’ll do our best to report on most of the nominated causes in the weeks to come.
That way, they get the recognition they deserve, whether or not they lift a trophy at the end of the competition.
The competition is being held in association with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, with NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group as partner sponsors and Olivers Dental Studio as category sponsors.
So all we need now is for you to highlight the people who have helped you most.
The very best will make it to our grand finals, to be held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on April 14.
Before then, you have plenty of time to nominate with a deadline of March 31 to get those entries in. So get nominating and make sure our unsung heroes get the limelight they deserve.
To nominate, either fill in the form on this page or visit www.jpne-events.co.uk.