‘You Can Aim For The Stars’: Michelle Gorringe’s journey into nursing

We hear from Michelle Gorringe, co-founder and COO of Newcross Healthcare, who shares her remarkable journey into nursing and what makes it a rewarding career. Michelle, along with the founders of Newcross Healthcare, launched FuturU as a way of giving back to the sector. 

Could you tell us about your journey into nursing?

I was 14 years old when I decided I wanted to become a nurse. My aunt, who was a nurse, had a profound impact on me when she cared for my grandfather, who was terminally ill. She was like an angel who walked into a room and made things happen. Seeing her make a difference in his life and support our family during a challenging time inspired my own journey into nursing. 

My family couldn’t afford to pay for my nursing education, but thankfully there was financial support available to nurses at the time. We were paid 96p an hour (this was nearly 40 years ago!) and I was entitled to discounted accommodation, which allowed me to build a career for myself. Without that, I don’t think I would have been able to pursue a career in nursing. 

Where has your career taken you since then?

I started my career in clinical nursing and spent some time in Canada, where I specialised in neurology. When I returned to the UK, I transitioned into the private sector and took on management roles. This was a big learning curve and I had to gain new skills that would help me lead people and instruct best practice. But throughout all these experiences, I’ve never stopped learning.

In 1996, I co-founded Newcross Healthcare and still remain fully operational 27 years later. We started the business with the aim of vastly improving the temporary staffing sector. At the time, the quality of temporary staff in the healthcare sector was poor and many workers lacked the training they needed to succeed. With Newcross, we wanted to ensure that our healthcare staff and nurses had access to amazing training for free, so they could provide the best possible care. It was this focus on best-in-class healthcare training that eventually led to the birth of FuturU. 

What are some of the qualities you admire in nurses? 

What I find truly remarkable about nurses and healthcare professionals is their innate curiosity. There’s an unwavering desire to explore, to understand, and to care. Nurses are inherently inquisitive, not just about the human body but about people in general, and they have a lot of empathy for others.

When faced with challenges, nurses are also the type of people to find practical solutions. Being resourceful is part of our nature. 

How has being a nurse shaped you?

When I began my career as a young nurse, the experiences I encountered as an 18-year-old trainee were unlike anything I would have faced in any other field. They taught me some tough lessons, and there were a lot of tears. But I grew up quickly and became a better rounded human being as a result.

I’ve also been shaped by the lifelong friendships I’ve made working alongside others in healthcare. We share deep connections because we go through some incredible experiences together, things most people don’t see. We support each other and do whatever it takes to make things better for the people we care for.

What is the most rewarding part of nursing for you?

It’s that feeling you get when you make someone smile, when you’ve made a genuine difference for someone and their family. A word of gratitude, a reassuring touch – these are priceless moments, and in healthcare, we experience them more often than not. 

We recently supported a young person in our care who had never been on holiday outside of the UK. We made it possible for them to travel, and it was the trip of a lifetime for them. They achieved their dream of boarding an aeroplane and enjoying a holiday, something they had never done before. Stories like these bring a big smile to my face and warm my heart.

What would you say to someone considering a career in nursing or making a change?

Working as a nurse offers incredible career opportunities. Regardless of where you begin, you’re embarking on a journey with endless growth potential. In healthcare, there’s no fixed ceiling; you can aim for the stars.

But above all, it’s essential to work in a field you’re passionate about. So, if you feel like you’re in the wrong part of healthcare, don’t hesitate to make a bold decision. If you want to travel, go for it. I spent some time working in Canada, and it was an amazing experience. Just take the opportunity, do your research, and be brave. Sometimes, nurses think they can’t change their path. But trust me, take that leap of faith!

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