My job

'A good nurse leader never forgets why they became a nurse'

Amelia Greenwood-Blott, regional clinical lead nurse at Local Care Force nursing agency, discusses what makes a good clinical leader, the importance of staff support and her love of horses.

Amelia Greenwood-Blott, regional clinical lead nurse at Local Care Force nursing agency, discusses what makes a good clinical leader, the importance of staff support and her love of horses.

What is your job?

My role is to support agency nurses and, in turn, empower them to support their patients and provide the highest standard of care. Nurses are unique because of the challenges they face in today’s ever-changing healthcare service and they need support from other team members.

For example, we identified the need to have a programme of mentorship and leadership for agency nurses, which was previously unheard of in the sector. We saw that, after an untoward incident occurred, rather than being given the opportunity to learn from it and develop, agency nurses were often moved or prevented from working in a service. They did not experience the same level of support and opportunity to learn as permanent nurses.

What are your main responsibilities?

To develop and implement ways to support more than 350 Local Care Force nurses across Yorkshire and Lancashire. To enable this, we developed a framework, Agency Nurses: Protect Yourself, Protect Your Patients, which encompasses revalidation support, a comprehensive programme of clinical skills training, mental health training and sessions on contemporary issues in nursing. For deliver these, we ask speakers from universities, the RCN and specialist services.

We provide clinical and managerial supervision, as well as group supervision and peer support, for all our nurses. We want to ensure they have the support they need and the appropriate skills to ensure the safety of their patients.

I’m also here to support our nurses and the services they work in if concerns arise, whether from a safeguarding perspective or following an untoward incident or medication error. Building positive relationships with the services for who we provide nurses is vital to my role.

Why did you become a nurse?

My mum is a nurse and as a little girl I loved the uniform. I think it was fate. Every person in my family, including my husband, works for the NHS.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It’s given me the opportunity to make a real difference to so many nurses and, in turn, to patients’ lives by developing our nurses’ skills and supporting them when times are difficult.

It’s also enabled me to do things I never thought I would, from being filmed discussing Agency Nurses: Protect Yourself, Protect Your Patients for an awards ceremony at the British Library to being recognised for the same project as a nursing innovator in the RCN library.

My job is an adventure everyday.

How and where have you developed leadership skills?

My leadership skills come from the amazing nurses I have worked with over the past 21 years. I’ve been lucky to have have been mentored by some of the most inspiring nurses I've ever met.

And how does your current job make use of your skills?

I am known for being organised and I have to be. I work across 200 services with 350-plus nurses across Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester. I’ve become a specialist at managing my time and at planning in order to make sure I’m where everyone needs me to be at the right moment.  

What is the greatest challenge?

The biggest challenge we face still is the negative attitudes and prejudices often held towards agencies and agency nurses. Convincing ‘traditional’ nursing services that we are different from the perceived ‘usual’ nursing agencies takes hard work and persistence.

Agency nurses have told us they often felt disenfranchised compared to their colleagues who have permanent roles. But, by enabling them to build their confidence through support provided by a clinical lead nurse, they no longer feel distanced from their peers. Our nurses’ professionalism shows the benefits of having a clinical lead nurse supporting them. It is unknown to have clinical leads within an agency setting, so the initiative evolved through trial and error, learning with our nurses as part of a team.

What inspires you?

Leanne Silverwood, managing director of Local Care Forces, inspires me. She never gives up no matter what’s thrown at her, and is always thinking of new and different ways to do things. She is able to convince you that everything is possible if you work hard enough. She inspires me to do my best every day.

What do you do in your free time?

I’ve owned horses my entire life and they take up most of my free time. I’ve had Honey, my current horse, since she was born and we hope to have her out competing this year.

What makes a good nurse leader?

A good nurse leader never forgets why they became a nurse. You need to believe in what you’re doing to be able to inspire others. Always being open to other people’s ways of thinking and not believing you’re always right also help. Also, leading by example; I would never ask someone to do something I would not be happy to do myself. 

What advice would you like to pass onto students and junior staff?

There is no such thing as a stupid question. None of us knows everything and it’s always better to ask. You can learn something new every day if you let yourself.

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