How did you start your career?
I went straight in to do my nurse training from school. So after doing my A levels, I knew I wanted to work with children. I wasn't quite sure, whether I wanted to go into primary school teaching, children's nursing or midwifery. I was also interested in health, nursing and hospitals. So I decided to apply for children's nursing. I did my nurse training at Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was an amazing experience.
How have you developed your career?
I've been on a bit of a journey, and I've done lots of different roles. When I was a student nurse, in that classroom with the lecturers, I remember, thinking to myself can you imagine, being a nurse that's that expert, and thinking, wow, it'd be amazing I wonder if I could ever do that. So in the back of my mind, there was this thought that I would like to go into academia. I've done lots of different things as a nurse and in a way when I look back, I think part of me was gathering as much information and as much knowledge and skills and expertise as possible, so that I could move into an educational role. So, I qualified as a children's nurse in the mid 90s. And I worked in acute nursing for a while and worked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, I worked on a general surgical ward, which was quite interesting because having trained at Great Ormond Street, which is a tertiary referral hospital, where most children that you're nursing have high needs and complex conditions. Going from that into a general ward of surgical patients who are having their appendix out or tonsillectomies and things like that, I felt like I didn't really know what I was doing, I hadn't come across anything like that in my training, because it was so specialised, but then I realised, actually, everything I'd learnt was applicable. It was just about applying it. After that, I specialised in oncology, particularly with teenage children. I then decided, I actually wanted to move into the community. And the reason for that was nursing children in hospitals is all very well, but the reality is, you don't want them to be in a hospital, you want them to be well and be out in the community. I kept seeing patients come in and a lot of what they were coming in with could be prevented, and they didn't actually need to be in hospital. Children with things like exacerbation of their asthma, for example, or not very well managed diabetes. There was that thought of, I want to get out in the community and try and prevent some of this and to keep children well, so I moved into community nursing. I worked with school nurses and health visitors for a while as a community staff nurse, and then did my specialist community public health nurse, additional training. I did the additional training and qualified at the university I now work and teach at and then worked in the community as a specialist community public health nurse. I did that for a number of years and loved it. That role involves all sorts of things from health promotion, sex education, one to one work with children with emotional issues, immunisations, all sorts of things. I then decided that a lot of the work I actually did involved safeguarding. You're the lead health professional in the community when it comes to safeguarding. Which is everything from the prevention of harm all the way to the protection from harm. I decided I wanted to move into a safeguarding role. So I got a role in the safeguarding children team. And I was named nurse for child protection for a number of years. And then moved into the role of lead nurse for safeguarding children in the Trust that I worked in at the time.