Please give a brief overview of your background
I was born in the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, and grew up in Tower Hamlets. My parents are both English, and my mother’s side is all from East London and my father’s from Swindon in Wiltshire.
I started my nursing career later in life after I had my children, and I have four grown-up children. My career was started by me studying adult nursing at City University and I then went on to study Specialist Community Public Health Nursing – Health visiting, also at City University. While training to be a Health Visitor I took on a health visiting placement in Tower Hamlets, in the North West Locality and I had an amazing Practice Teacher.
I stayed in the North West locality when I qualified as a Band 6 Health Visitor for the GP Care Group. At this time there was a call to action which was to train and recruit new Health Visitors, which meant many nurses and midwives were being trained as Health Visitors. My Clinical Lead at the time encouraged me to train to become a Practice Teacher to support students. This was a great opportunity as I had only been qualified as a Health Visitor for two years.
When a Band 7 vacancy came up in the South East locality I applied and was successful. A few years later a secondment opportunity came up to cover a Clinical Lead Band 8 position for six months. I applied and was successful and due to extensions to the secondment, I spent 21 months in the interim role. Soon after, the role of a Band 7 Locality Clinical Manager (LCM) was created. I applied and became LCM for Network 8. I recently did another secondment at Clinical Lead Band 8 for six months to cover maternity leave.
I am really grateful for these secondment opportunities, as I have been able to gain a great insight into how things work at the senior management level and while I did enjoy the Clinical Lead role, I prefer the Locality Clinical Manager role within the GP Care Group. I have now worked in this position for three out of four localities and moved back to the South East locality recently. With this current position I am able to do flexible working and for the past 18 months, I have been condensing my hours over a two-week period so that I work my hour over nine days instead of 10. The ability to work flexibly in this role is very beneficial, and I could not imagine working in health visiting anywhere other than here in Tower Hamlets.
What are the key aspects of your role?
As a Locality Clinical Manager, I am responsible for leading on healthy child programme, allocation of KPIs, Safeguarding concerns and other incoming referrals. Another aspect of my role includes line management of Band 6 Health Visitors and other team members, as well as safeguarding supervision with Health Visitors.
The great thing about my role is that I am responsible for various things that range from liaising and meeting services such as GP practices, Midwifery, Children’s Social Care, Child Development teams, doing clinical caseload management, data drilling, and supporting team members with referrals to other agencies, and completing rotas for clinics.
The educational aspect of my role involves facilitating support and mentoring of both undergraduate nurses and Specialist Community Public Health Nursing (SCPHN) students and preceptorship for newly qualified staff.
What team/service does your role sit within?
My role sits within the 0-19 Health Visiting Team.
Name two other teams/services that you work closely with, and how?
I work closely with the Children’s Social Care Team, working with children and their families in Tower Hamlets who require support through Child Protection or Child in Need Plans. As part of this I am required to write reports for Child Protection conferences and attend safeguarding meetings, liaising with social workers to share information.
I also work with Midwifery and attend meetings with gateway midwives. I liaise with Midwifery about individual mothers and babies.
Describe a typical day in your role - what do you do
To give you an overview of a typical day in my role, I picked a random day from the previous month. This day started with me checking my emails, which was followed by a meeting with my Locality Clinical Manager colleague and the Clinical Lead, where the Lead shared information with us and we fed back to her.
There is never a moment when I’m not checking my emails as I always like to respond promptly. The email I responded to after my meeting was to a Social Worker regarding a family I have been working with. I then had a 1-to-1 meeting with one of the Health Visitors and has a bite to eat for lunch.
Not long after lunch, I attended the weekly team meeting where Locality Clinical Managers give information to the team and the team has the chance to catch up and share anything they’d like to discuss. Next, I joined a core group meeting for a Health Visitor who had to take emergency leave that day. After recording the meeting on software called ‘EMIS’ I logged into Microsoft SharePoint to update the Annual leave tracker for a staff member who had requested annual leave and spent some time creating trackers for the next few months.
I then attended a meeting with a gateway midwife where we discussed the women in the locality who requires an enhanced level of midwifery and health visiting. By the time I had finished documenting the women’s records and checked emails again my day had finished.
What would you say are the most challenging aspects of your role?
When we have colleague shortages allocation can be very challenging due to the high volume of work coming in each week. However, the teams generally pull together to ensure the time is being used effectively for essential work, such as covering safeguarding meeting attendance.
What do you enjoy most, or what are you most proud of in your job?
There are lots of things that make me proud of my job. A few years ago, I won a GP Care Group star award for ‘Leading by Example’. I was nominated by team members which makes it even more special.
Most recently, when the COVID-19 Pandemic first started, the health visiting was able to continue to offer services to our families in Tower Hamlets. This was done by the introduction of video consultations, which meant we were able to continue to safely offer universal services to children and their families. We changed our clinics in the children’s Centres, so we were able to continue to see our most vulnerable families face to face.
Share one thing that your colleagues don’t know about you?
Although I always wanted to be a nurse, I equally would have loved to be a Police Officer.
If you feel inspired by Julia's role and want to become a Health Visitor, our Health Visiting Team is currently recruiting!