Why health visiting?
I have recently completed my Post Graduate Diploma in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University and have just taken up my first post as a health visitor within the North East of Glasgow. I’m feeling excited and also a little apprehensive at the same time about starting out as a health visitor in practice. I think that’s because I’m very aware that learning how to be an effective practitioner is an ongoing process! I began my nursing career as a Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nurse (QARNN) in 1989. For over 13 years I enjoyed working in very challenging environments including the Kurdish Humanitarian Crisis in 1991, the mountains in Norway and working with forces families abroad who were isolated from their normal extended family and support networks. Since then here in Glasgow, I have worked in Midwifery, NHS 24 as a nurse practitioner/practice facilitator and laterally, prior to starting the course I enjoyed working as a community staff nurse in a joint health and social worker team supporting vulnerable children and their families. Over the years, my passion to care for families within the community has guided me naturally towards health visiting. I really am thrilled to have had the opportunity to train as a public health nurse and complete my PgD guided by Mary Scott the programme leader at Glasgow Caledonian.
What do I like about working in the community?
It’s such a privilege to be invited into a family home to provide support, care and advice. Delivering care within the home environment can help families to feel more empowered and consequently support the development of a therapeutic relationship between them and the health visitor. Also, working within the community provides the opportunity to forge strong partnerships between statutory and voluntary organisations and from within the community itself. It facilitates a collective pool of knowledge and experience for the benefit of the children and families in our care.
What does winning the QNIS award mean to me?
Having read the history of the Queen’s nurses and what they have achieved over the past 125 years, it is such an honour to receive an award from this organisation. It does seem to me that as a nation we are moving towards a time when more and more care can and will be provided within the home and community environment. The QNIS’s dedication to the professional development of community nurses and promotion of innovative research is arguably as important and valuable now as it was at the organisation’s conception.
Thinking ahead, I would really love to work as a health visitor for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association). Having had the previous experience of serving within the forces myself, I would love to return to that environment now as a health visitor and provide care to today’s serving families. Academically, I have stayed on at university to complete my MSc in Public Health in May 2016. This is very challenging but I’m loving it too!