Give a brief overview of your background.
I was what some may consider a “late bloomer”. I had no idea what to do in life and spent most of my younger years going out and travelling. It wasn’t until after I received amazing care as a patient, following an operation, that I became inspired to train to become a nurse. To make this a reality I made the decision to apply for university to obtain a nursing qualification. I qualified as an Adult Nurse, from City University London in October 2014, shortly after having my first child.
I was then fortunate enough to be part of a pilot to train newly qualified nurses in A&E as part of a new preceptorship programme with King’s College Hospital – Orpington Site. I learned and developed a lot of skills in a fast-paced environment, where no day was the same. One of the key things I took away from my first role, was the importance of teamwork and communication in delivering patient care. I loved working in A&E, however, I had to make a tough decision to leave the unpredictability of shift-work and look for something more stable to raise my son.
After a brief role working part-time with Tower Hamlets District Nursing Team, I decided to go back to university to train as a School Nurse. Returning to education was important for me to continue my professional development and equip me with the knowledge and skills required to carry out my role effectively. My SCPHN training took place in the London Borough of Wandsworth, where I developed my experience with a wide range of training and exposure to different scenarios. After 4 years working in Wandsworth, I decided it was time for a change and made the transition, during the pandemic and joined the GP Care Group in April 2020.
I have now been a School Nurse with GP Care Group for just over a year and I’m excited about the thought of what comes next.
What are the key aspects of your School Nurse role?
The list of responsibilities as a School Nurse is rewarding and endless. A key aspect of my role is providing health advice and support to school-aged children and their families. As a School Nurse, I target public health support to identify vulnerable children in Tower Hamlets while working with other agencies in Child Protection and Safeguarding.
I have the responsibility of managing a caseload of children known to our School Health and Wellbeing Service and advocate to ensure their health needs are met. In addition, I support, mentor and educate pre-and post-registration nursing students in the School Health Service.
Another important aspect of my role involves health promotion in the borough. This includes delivering training to children, families, and schools to support a healthy lifestyle to reduce health inequalities.
What team/service does your role sit within?
I work with the GP Care Group’s Network 5 and 6 School Nursing Team.
Name two other teams/services that you work closely with, and how?
I work mostly with Schools within the borough, but my position enables me to work closely with Social Services and often liaise with Health Visitors.
Describe a typical day in your role?
I will start off by saying that no day is the same. All staff check-in via Microsoft Teams in the morning and advise where they will be for the day. Due to the pandemic, I am currently working from home, which is very different to what a School Nurse’s day would normally look like.
Typically, I would normally arrange to go to one of my schools on my caseload and liaise with key staff to support children/young people with their health needs in school. This could be via a health needs assessment or through support and advice. However, as I am working remotely, the next thing I will do after checking in is looking at my diary, ChatHealth rota, and emails. ChatHealth is our free text messaging services that allow young people in the borough to reach us and talk about their health concerns confidentially.
I often respond to straightforward inquiries and then I will prioritise urgent emails and log into our EMIS system and work my way through each task, with the aim to complete any outstanding query. A lot of our work at the moment consists of working with spreadsheets and data as there are a lot of children and young people in Tower Hamlets.
I would then read over the A&E attendances and Safeguarding notifications which are updated daily by our supportive admin team and allocated according to the School and School Nurse.
If there are any upcoming safeguarding meetings, I will attempt to contact the family concerned to discuss any health concerns relating to their child with the intention to complete a report to be shared with the network. All tasks must be documented on each child’s record and a follow-up arranged.
Since COVID-19, our roles have morphed into a lot of administrative tasks and virtual meetings. We have had to adapt to a lot of change within the last year, which comes with its challenges, but there are some positives as well. As a service, we have looked at how we can improve ways of working to improve outcomes and service delivery. Safeguarding has increased exponentially due to the pandemic, which has had an impact on the number of meetings we attend and families we support, and now we need more School Nurses to meet the demand.
What would you say are the most challenging aspects of your role?
Some days, unexpected tasks can come up with short deadlines, and this means having to stop the current task and postpone it until it can be completed at a later date. This is a struggle for me as I do not like to have incomplete tasks, I prefer to complete a task and move on to the next task.
What do you enjoy most, or what are you most proud of in your job?
I gain satisfaction knowing that I have contributed to a positive outcome in a child/family’s life. I also often try to support staff and team members, if I can and I find this quite rewarding as well. These are difficult times we are living in and we can all benefit from being empathetic towards others.
Share one thing that your colleagues don’t know about you?
I have a birthmark on my right eye. Random, I know.