My job

Beyond the expected

Joan Pons Laplana’s nursing career has not been linear, which perhaps befits a man who believes in ‘horizontal power’ and challenges hierarchy.

Joan Pons Laplana’s nursing career has not been linear, which perhaps befits a man who believes in ‘horizontal power’ and challenges hierarchy.

Picture credit: Neil O’Connor

The signs were there 20 years ago when, studying for a degree in critical care in Barcelona, his role model was maverick TV paediatrician Doug Ross, from the series ER.

‘I do not like routine – I like to be challenged. I thought A&E was the thing for me. I wanted to be the next George Clooney,’ he says.

Having come to England to work, it was this rebellious spirit that led Joan to a decision that turned his approach to nursing upside down.

‘I liked my job, but I would not say it was my passion. Patients weren’t my focus. I was more interested in gadgets than compassion and care.’

Joan had moved to work in intensive care. He was assigned to a cubicle where a young man was recovering from a motorcycle accident, unable to speak or move and very depressed.

The man asked Joan to move his bed closer to the window – a request Joan knew was strictly against health and safety rules, but which he granted.

‘I closed all the curtains and spent the next two hours moving him – ventilators, everything – to the window.’

The patient and Joan sat in silence, in tears, hand in hand for 20 minutes while sunlight streamed through the window. It was a turning point in Joan’s career.

‘That day, I discovered nursing was my passion. It changed all my reasons for being a nurse. That day, I made a difference to someone.’

The following day, Joan was called into the matron’s office and given a formal warning. Disillusioned, he left the job and spent two years working as an agency nurse in Yorkshire.

In 2012, he secured a community nurse job with Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS), where he met Sally Edwards, a manager who shared his vision of patient-centred care.

Things took offfrom this point. Following the launch of the 6Cs Joan became a ‘care maker’ and is now Midlands regional co-ordinator. In November 2013 he became East Midlands NHS Change Day co-ordinator and recently joined the board of directors of Health & Care Voices, a forum where professionals can share views on health and care.

‘In less than two years, I had gone from being nearly unemployable to winning multiple awards,’ he says.

He was asked by Ms Edwards to join the NHS Employers campaign and become a champion in charge of equality and diversity for DCHS. Together they created a BME network in DCHS, making it mandatory for all staffto watch a 15-minute video about diversity and equality at their induction.

Now working as a BUPA IV therapy charge nurse in Chesterfield, Joan was shortlisted for the NHS Employers Excellence in Diversity Awards 2015 for his work as a nurse ‘going above and beyond the expected’.

Joan says: ‘Diversity should be at the centre of any organisation.

It should be about delivering a high standard of care’.

Further information

The Excellence in Diversity Awards

New Health & Care Voices

NHS Change Day

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