My job

60 seconds with consultant nurse for older people Nicky Hayes

Nicky Hayes set her heart on gerontological nursing early in her career. Her varied roles mean she still sees patients every day, while also helping to develop the clinical leaders of the future
Nicky Hayes

Nicky Hayes set her heart on gerontological nursing early in her career. Her varied roles mean she still sees patients every day, while also helping to develop the clinical leaders of the future

Nicky Hayes has specialised in the care of older people throughout her career. After qualifying as a registered nurse in 1985, she held a range of clinical and academic posts before being appointed consultant nurse for older people at Londons Kings College Hospital NHS Trust in 2001.

She is also clinical lead for the Older Persons Fellowship, a national programme sponsored by Health Education England to develop lead practitioners in the care of older people, and consultant editor for RCNi's Nursing Older People journal.

What are your main work responsibilities? My clinical work centres on care for older people

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Nicky Hayes set her heart on gerontological nursing early in her career. Her varied roles mean she still sees patients every day, while also helping to develop the clinical leaders of the future


Consultant nurse for older people Nicky Hayes. Picture: Barney Newman.

Nicky Hayes has specialised in the care of older people throughout her career. After qualifying as a registered nurse in 1985, she held a range of clinical and academic posts before being appointed consultant nurse for older people at London’s King’s College Hospital NHS Trust in 2001. 

She is also clinical lead for the Older Person’s Fellowship, a national programme sponsored by Health Education England to develop lead practitioners in the care of older people, and consultant editor for RCNi's Nursing Older People journal. 

What are your main work responsibilities?  
My clinical work centres on care for older people with complex needs, with specialty interests in Parkinson’s disease, advance care planning and falls prevention. 

How did you get your job?  
I was working as a senior lecturer at Middlesex University when I received a call asking if I was interested in applying for the job at King’s. I went for an informal visit and never looked back.

Who are your clients/patients?
Older people with complex needs. I see patients on the wards and in outpatients, where I hold my weekly Parkinson’s clinic. I also see patients in care homes and their own homes as part of my community Parkinson’s work. 

What do you love about your job? 
Seeing patients every day and applying my training and experience in assessing and caring for them. My role with the Older People’s Fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity to support the development of future clinical leaders. 

What do you find most difficult? 
Trying to plan any kind of service or workforce development, due to changes in the NHS and pressures on the system. 

How have you developed your skills in this role? 
This was a new role when I was appointed, so there was no template for development. I trained as an independent prescriber and in advanced assessment skills, and accumulated a lot of training in Parkinson’s disease through courses, colleagues and conferences.

What has been your most formative career experience? 
My first experience of nursing was as an auxiliary nurse in a nursing home in Cornwall in 1980. On my first shift I was asked to go and wash one of the residents who was wearing a pair of ‘Kanga pants’. I hadn’t a clue what they were or what to do. After that challenge, I’ve not let much faze me. 

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