Welcome to my first blog, something I have been thinking about launching for a while – so I’m glad to finally put pen to paper here.
I’m hoping I can write these regularly as a way to update you about things which may impact your daily work, but also for you to get to know me and for me to have opportunities to hear about what matters to you.
For my first edition I’d like to share more about myself, including some personal anecdotes, which I hope you find interesting, along with how you can get in touch with me.
Going right back to 1983, I first started my nursing career at the age of 18 when I trained at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. I’m sure many of you will look back on your training with fond memories, as do I.
For the majority of my career I have worked as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, mainly in primary care. I found this area of health to be really rewarding.
In 2007 something happened which changed me both personally and professionally. My father sadly passed away after rapid deterioration over a period of three months. My experience as a daughter was not one I would want anyone else to have to go through. He was treated as a number, not a person. Not the father, husband, son, soldier, mentor and IT expert he was. The system did not provide the best for him and I couldn’t influence a better outcome. Everyone did their best but his care was not joined up and services were not there to provide the care he needed.
I was unable to make a difference for my father, but I was certain I could make a difference for others. This gave me the desire to move into a more strategic space where I could directly influence provision and outcomes for patients and their families.
Over the years I moved into commissioning and chief nurse roles doing my best to enact positive change in the health and care sector, and I was appointed Executive Director for Nursing at the ICB in June 2022.
I work closely with our partners across providers, local authorities and voluntary organisations to galvanise the difference we can make collectively.
Times are really tough and with financial challenges, workforce issues and industrial action, being a nurse is a real test at times. But, (as biased as I may be) I truly believe nursing is the best profession.
I have been heavily involved in the system response to the unprecedented industrial action we have seen from the RCN over recent months. The below photo is from our incident response room which has involved many of our organisations working together. I know how difficult a time it has been for those who have decided to support the strike action, and also those who haven’t.
I would encourage you all to respect each other’s’ views and work together to demonstrate the impact that nursing has for individual patients, whatever your role.
Photo: Industrial action response team in January.
Even though times are challenging we still need to act as champions to encourage others to join the profession we know and love. When someone asks me what I do, I’m always proud to tell them I’m a nurse and I work for the NHS, even 40 years on from my first day of training.
I have a fantastic relationship with our brilliant Chief Nurses across our patch and we have already done great things together. I am also keen to hear from staff at all levels, areas of expertise, services and providers. That’s why I’m establishing a Nurse’s Forum in the coming months, so please look out for more information on these. I’m looking forward to meeting more of you and listening to the issues which impact you directly.
Going forward I hope I can make these blogs relevant to your roles and short enough so you are able to read them when you get a moment. Any suggestions for areas you’d like me to cover are welcome. In the meantime, if you’d like to reach out to me, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kind regards and thanks for taking the time to read this,