Independent Nurse, 19 May 2014
Why did you become a nurse?
I realised I wanted to work in healthcare while studying at college. At the time, I was flitting between nursing, radiography, physiotherapy and pathology.
Nursing seemed like the more sensible option, as I was not ready to commit to a particular specialty. The best decision I made as an unruly teenager.
How has your career developed since you started nursing?
I have been lucky in my nursing career up till now. My first couple of jobs were spent in critical care, intensive care and high dependency units, which I felt gave me a broad clinical foundation. The great thing about critical care is that you see a diverse range of conditions both medical and surgical, and that your time management and clinical decision making is quickly honed. I think that intensive care units are one of the last places you can truly be a 'nurse', providing all nursing care for the patient on a one-to-one basis.
From there, I had a lucky break as a HIV clinical nurse specialist in a busy genitourinary department. It was a new role supporting a medically led service, with a rapidly growing cohort of patients. To this day, I do not know what possessed me to apply as I had no experience. Fortunately, I was given a chance and was supported to build the role, providing some nurse-led care. I completed an independent prescribing course and started an advanced nurse practitioner (ANP) masters.
I moved into a community matron role, where I completed my ANP course and then moved on to asylum seeker healthcare as an ANP. I am now the clinical lead in a specialist GP surgery, looking after asylum seekers, refugees, the homeless and other vulnerable patients. I love it.
What does your current role entail?
As clinical lead for the practice, I manage the medical and nursing teams, as well as working closely with the practice manager to help run the practice. My job remains mainly clinical though, running ANP clinics daily, assessing, diagnosing and treating patients of all ages presenting both diagnosed and undiagnosed conditions. My second role is as staff side chair, supporting RCN members in the workplace.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
By far the best part of the role is the 'kick' you get from seeing a patient reach their goals thanks to your care.
Our patients are certainly challenging but it makes succeeding a greater reward. The worst part is the increasing time pressures within all healthcare environments at present.
How do you see your role developing?
I would like to see my role progressing into research within the asylum seeker population, which is much needed.
If you weren't a nurse, what would you be?
To say I 'fell' into nursing would be fair but I often wondered what else I would have done. Something scientific, I think.
What would you do if you were health secretary?
Support the greater integration of the NHS and local authority services, such as social services and housing.
Job title: Advanced nurse practitioner
Location: Whitehouse Centre, Huddersfield
Qualifications: MSc, BSc, DipHE, RN, QN