Careers

‘You are the voice of young people’

Colette Datt, nurse consultant for children and young people at Whittington Health in London, wants to help nursing students to realise how powerful they can be.
Colette Datt

Colette Datt, nurse consultant for children and young people at Whittington Health in London, wants to help nursing students to realise how powerful they can be

What does your role involve?

I run nurse-led asthma and allergy clinics as well as leading and developing clinical practice and undertaking clinical research. My strategic work involves supporting and implementing the children and young person priorities and prevention agenda.

Why did you become a childrens nurse?

I really enjoyed my childrens placement as a student nurse. A nurse mentor had said if you do what you enjoy, you will enjoy what you do. I grew up in a big Irish family with lots of brothers and sisters and cousins, so it was a natural environment for me.

What might you have done otherwise?

I worked in banking

...

Colette Datt, nurse consultant for children and young people at Whittington Health in London, wants to help nursing students to realise how powerful they can be


Colette Datt

What does your role involve?

I run nurse-led asthma and allergy clinics as well as leading and developing clinical practice and undertaking clinical research. My strategic work involves supporting and implementing the children and young person priorities and prevention agenda.

Why did you become a children’s nurse?

I really enjoyed my children’s placement as a student nurse. A nurse mentor had said ‘if you do what you enjoy, you will enjoy what you do’. I grew up in a big Irish family with lots of brothers and sisters and cousins, so it was a natural environment for me.

What might you have done otherwise?

I worked in banking and disliked it, but I did meet my husband there.

Where did you train?

Whittington Health, London.

Where have you worked previously as a nurse?

Hertfordshire Children’s Community Nursing Team and Great Ormond Street.

What is your current job?

My clinical role is focused on asthma/allergy in children and young people and I run a number of nurse-led clinics for these conditions. I am the lead for transition for young people with long term conditions and young person engagement. I also lead the young person’s board, a space for young people to tell us what they think about the services we provide. My academic and research interests focus on smoking cessation.

What do you enjoy most about it?

Clinical work keeps me grounded and gives me credibility with my clinical and nursing colleagues. The knowledge and experience I have gained during a 25-year nursing career gives me confidence to lead and influence change.

What is the greatest challenge?

Genuinely listening to and engaging with young people. The NHS does some listening, but too little action is taken afterwards. This can make young people disillusioned and disengaged.

What would you change if you could?

I would help nursing students to be more confident, give them the opportunities to do work-based projects, work with young people and help them realise their power on the frontline.

I would ensure there was an acute focus for children on the prevention agenda and ensure appropriate resources were allocated.

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

As I love my job I would like to continue my clinical and strategic roles. I want to be an advocate for children and young people to ensure they truly are listened to and supported. I would like junior nurses to have a greater say about care delivery and to inspire them to work with young people to enable change.

What inspires you?

The young people I work with often surprise or even shock me with what they say, but they are powerful change agents. The altruistic people I meet in the NHS, who continue each day to work beyond their paid hours and go the extra mile for patients.

What achievement are you proudest of?

I developed and managed a children and young person’s engagement event last year that 65 young people attended. We learnt so much about what young people actually think. The organisation totally embraced the process and now has a different perspective on how and why we must continue to engage and talk with young people.

What advice would give a newly-qualified children’s nurse?

You are a really important person on the frontline, you can observe, listen to children and families. If you become aware of any simple things that could make a difference, know that you can make this happen and make sure the right people hear you. You are the voice of these young people, and this is the fulcrum of being a children’s nurse.

 

 

 

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