Meet the nurse who quit her job to become ‘full-time princess’

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A former NHS nurse left the ‘terrifying’ job to instead host princess parties after suffering from anxiety and regular nightmares due to burnout from working on the ward.

Lydia Welsh, 29, from Maidenhead, Berkshire, graduated from the University of Southampton in 2014 with a degree in nursing and spent one year working on an NHS ward.

However, her dreams of a career in nursing were soon shattered after she realised the workload was too much for her to bear.

The 29-year-old suffered from anxiety and nightmares and often cried before her shifts, saying nursing left her “terrified”.

However, a favour for a friend dressing up as a princess to entertain children at a village fête opened new doors for Welsh.

Lydia Welsh said she suffered burnout, anxiety and nightmares during her time working as a nurse
Welsh said her year of nursing left her “terrified” and frequently in tears before shifts

After posting photos of the event online, she received several messages from parents asking if she would offer the service again. She started to host princess parties and eventually turned the side gig into a full-time job.

Welsh spoke of panic-inducing experiences during her time as a nurse, such as a time in which she was sent to a new ward, allegedly without training, and claims she was not told what drugs to administer to patients.

“I was on a 12-hour nightshift sleep deprived and was only just flipped from day shifts when I was sent without warning to work on a different ward I hadn’t been trained on,” she said.

“This left me in a situation where I didn’t know anything about the ward speciality, drugs being administered or even what key opened what. On that same shift I was responsible for the wellbeing of 15 very unwell patients, working alongside a team who were bank and agency staff so also totally new to the ward.”

Welsh said the feeling of not being able to provide the standard of care you want to, due to circumstances outside of your control, was “really demoralising” and “highly stressful”.

“No one becomes a nurse to provide substandard care,” she said.

Her year of nursing left her “terrified”, she said, and frequently in tears before shifts.

She said the emotional and physical exhaustion of the job spilled into her daily life, and Welsh knew she couldn’t continue working in nursing for much longer.

“I went into nursing with every will in the world to remain in the healthcare profession, with an ambition to work my way up into healthcare commissioning and make a meaningful difference,” she said.

“Total emotional and physical exhaustion, no doubt caused by the toll anxiety and stress takes on you and not just in the hours you’re working, meant I couldn’t continue.”

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While she said she had “such much respect” for colleagues on the frontline, she felt she needed to find something that brought more light than dark into her life.

Her newfound passion for dressing as a princess to entertain children came when a friend asked a favour of her, to help out at a village fair.

Welsh received several messages from parents asking if she would host a princess party for their child, and over the following months, ended up earning more than she did as a nurse.

Upon quitting her nursing job, Welsh said she needed to find something that brought her "more light than darkness"
Welsh now has six franchise locations across the south of the UK, delivering over 50 parties a month to hundreds of children

Welsh fell in love with her side job and realised it was finally time to leave nursing to pursue her passion.

She launched her business, Snow Princess Parties, in early 2016, and hasn’t looked back since.

Because of the high demand for her services, Welsh soon needed to hire a team. She now has six franchise locations across the south of the UK, delivering over 50 parties a month to hundreds of children.

Being her own boss meant she had the power to chase and improve systems, policies and procedures in a way she never could as a nurse, she said.

“My income is directly proportional with the time and energy I put in and I do feel financially rewarded by my work, rather than just having to give so much time and energy with little financial incentive as so many nurses do,” she said.

“Whilst hosting a children’s party requires a level of responsibility, I’m grateful not to have someone’s life in my hands day in, day out.

She would likely miss nursing, she said, if she didn’t have all of the heart-warming interaction from being a children’s entertainer.

“The reaction from the children sometimes makes me forget that I’m not actually a magical princess who lives in a castle!” Welsh said.


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