Lyndsey Forsyth is an ADHD Nurse Specialist in Fife. She worked on a children’s ward for five years before taking up her current role in 2005 before the service moved to the community in 2011. Here, Lyndsey talks about what it is like to become a Queen’s Nurse after completing the development programme in 2018.
Becoming a Queen’s Nurse was, quite simply, life changing. Like many of you reading this, I had not heard of the programme until my line manager mentioned she was keen to nominate me. I did some research, spoke to one of the previous year’s Queen’s Nurses from Fife, and there was only one choice. It seemed like a great opportunity to be able to help promote the positive aspects of ADHD.
I am hugely passionate about raising awareness of ADHD. When people hear about ADHD, they picture the negatives, but I want to change the perspective; to help people understand and see the positives that I see every day. I thought the QNIS programme would be a platform to help me, so I said yes to my line manager and I submitted my application.
The programme itself had a huge impact on me, personally and professionally. Parts of the programme that I thought I would hate, turned out to be the parts I enjoyed the most, like working closely with a coach. You must trust the process. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on my values as a nurse – remembering why I became a nurse in the first place. I realised that I had been looking at the things we hadn’t done, whereas I learned you must focus on what you have done. What I felt was just ‘doing my job’ actually has a massive impact on the young people that I work with – and that is something to celebrate.
As part of the programme, each candidate has a project which they develop. My project was on patient inclusion and developing some of my young people with ADHD as ambassadors. This has really helped empower these young people. I’ve supported them to run conferences for parents, teachers, and other children about ADHD, to help them understand it, and raising awareness. In turn, these ambassadors have inspired other youngsters with ADHD, who will become the next batch of ambassadors.
Last week, we held an event to celebrate 20 years of the Children and Young Person Community Nursing Service in Fife and the ADHD team were part of this. Our ADHD ambassadors joined us and shared their experiences of ADHD. One young man sang a song about his experience growing up with ADD and another shared his experience of being an ambassador. We had fantastic feedback about how inspiring these youngsters are.
Without the Queen’s Nurse training, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to help take this forward and that is the key – it gives you permission to be brave. If anyone isn’t sure about whether to apply or not, I would say go for it, give it your all. I have never felt as valued as a nurse as I did when I was doing the programme. I am really proud to be a Queen’s Nurse.
The application process for the 2020 Queen’s Nurse programme is now open for those nominated by their employers. More details can be found by clicking the link below.