When did they begin their career as a nurse?
I did my general nurse training at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield years ago.
I was interested in providing psychological care to patients, so I moved to London to do my post-registration training in mental health at the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospital.
After that I wasn’t sure which direction to go in because I enjoyed all of my placements, and there were so many choices! I was particularly interested in counselling and group work, so I decided to remain in mental health and specialise in substance misuse.
I specialised in this for many years in hospitals, the community, primary care and prisons. One of the most memorable moments was a community outreach service I set up in collaboration with the health promotion department, specifically focusing on providing care, support and harm reduction services to female sex workers. The aim was to protect and safeguard vulnerable young women, ensuring they were making safe choices and providing them with access to services and screening.
Over the years I have worked in many environments across London, including acute medical care, urgent and emergency care, end of life care and mental health, although not always as a nurse. I’ve led many projects, implemented new services, and worked with other professionals to support the drive for improvement – evaluating services and facilitating pathway and service redesign.
Why did you decide to become a nurse?
I wasn’t sure what to do during my A-levels. I did some voluntary work at the local hospital and I enjoyed the experience so much that it sparked an interest.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Having a clinical background provides opportunities to engage in any aspect of healthcare. It’s difficult to think about my greatest accomplishment as there have been so many, but I never stop learning and reflecting.
There are so many choices in healthcare; my advice is to follow your dream. Collect all the skills, tools and experiences from each role, and take them with you on your journey so that they’re ready when you need them. These are transferrable, so you can easily change from one speciality to another and learn any additional skills required. Remember your journey is unique to you. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Build up your lifelong friends and colleagues.
I’ve been with NEL for almost four years. I’m part of a team that provides improvement and transformation support to services, organisations and systems. We work with all organisations to facilitate change and improvement, including improving pathways.
As part of NEL’s support with Covid-19, I am supporting Barts Health in designing a telephone bereavement survey for the families of those who have died during the pandemic. We recognise that not being able to visit a sick relative before their death is incredibly traumatic, so we are helping connect people with local bereavement services. If you think our team can support your organisation please get in touch.