From Pirouettes to Patients

Josephine Guzman, Cardiac Research Nurse


Josephine on…

Life before nursing…Josephine Guzman Cardiac research nurse

I was born and raised in Sweden, and I was always going to be a dancer, I did ballet for a long time and it took over my life when I was younger.

When I stopped dancing I didn’t know exactly what to do with my life. I had a break, trying different jobs, travelling, and having the freedom that I hadn't had before. I worked as a Health Care Assistant at various times in Sweden and Norway. At first I liked this job the least - early mornings, heavy workload, busy, understaffed. But it was also the job that I kept coming back to - I didn't find anything as fulfilling as working with people who really need me.

Working in healthcare was satisfying on so many other levels than just good working hours and pay cheque. I was really inspired by the district nurses I worked with - they were very encouraging.  I realised that I suited a career where I could work with people, work anywhere that I wanted in the world and work with so many different specialities. I thought nursing would be a great job for me.


Discovering her passion

I'm really happy. When I was undertaking my nursing training here I thought I would be a district nurse or work in the community, but I remember sitting at home studying for an exam in cardiology and I loved it instantly. I never actually had a cardiology placement but I always applied for cardiology jobs, and I started in a coronary unit in Epsom. There was a really strong team, good atmosphere and spirit. I worked there for a year. I was a Cardiac Research Nurse up until July 2018, after a few years working as a clinical nurse, but I missed being with patients. I applied to be a Clinical Nurse Specialist within the adult congenital heart disease team as a trainee, and I’m really excited to be starting that in a few weeks.


The real X Factor

Within every speciality there are so many sub specialities – that just shows how many opportunities there are as a nurse.  You really can take your career anywhere you want. It’s not until people end up in hospital or a family member is ill that they realise what we do. Many patients have said – “I never guessed how much you do, how much you know”.

You need intuition - as a nurse you will look at someone and you know straight away - you're just using all your senses all the time.  Machines don't work alone; they give me accurate readings, but if I'm not really tuning in to everything else I'm not going to get the bigger picture.


Loving London life

I‘ve been in London for 8 years. My husband is a dentist and was adamant he wanted to come here to work when he qualified, as one of his teachers who really inspired him was from London. When I decided to study nursing I thought I might as well study in London. It just kind of happened - I applied, I got in and then I moved here! I actually ended up arriving before my husband. I go back to Sweden several times a year; sometimes for a weekend, sometimes for two weeks. The flight is one and a half hours, which makes living in another country easier!

Workwise there are so many opportunities, and London as a city has so much to offer. In Sweden I lived close to the sea and could cycle everywhere all year-round. I do miss that but there’s something holding me here. There’s so much culture, art and theatre. We’re having fun!

Josephine infographic

Josephine on strength, resilience and compassion

Page last updated - 03/08/2019