A passion for collaboration
Kellie Owen supports managers and staff in care homes
Kellie Owen, winner of the 2019 Richard Tompkins Nurse Development Scholarship, on influencing the culture of care homes
What is your job?
Clinical team leader for the support to care home team at Solihull Community Services, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
The service provides education, clinical advice and support to managers and staff in residential and nursing homes.
It works with them to identify their needs and empower them to provide high-quality care to residents and reduce unnecessary admissions to hospital.
I provide leadership, direction and management.
Why did you become a nurse?
After graduating with a joint honours degree in sport and applied social studies I worked in the recruitment industry for eight years. Even though I was successful I never felt satisfied or happy.
After the birth of my son at the age of 29 I decided to retrain as a nurse.
I always knew that I loved working with people. I’m a practical, hands-on person so felt nursing could be for me.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The varied opportunities. I have worked in cardiology, community nursing and end of life care. I am now supporting care homes using my clinical and teaching skills.
My role involves leadership where I have influence to improve and embed evidence-based practice. I can also facilitate a working environment that is culturally positive and open to learning and change for the benefit of improving patient care.
What is your greatest challenge?
At times there are barriers between acute and community settings and with care homes. This is frustrating and it can also become apparent to patients and relatives who deserve seamless care.
I am looking at ways to create a more community-based approach to care and break down these barriers. It often comes down to poor communication.
You have been awarded the 2019 Richard Tompkins Nurse Development Scholarship by the Foundation of Nursing Studies. What do you hope to achieve?
I am so excited about attending the development school this summer. I’m going to bring back what I have learned and share it with the team and wider network.
I’m hoping to develop my skills and find ways to develop a caring culture in my team but also influence the cultures in the care homes we support.
What or who inspires you, and why?
I am inspired every day by the community team I work with. They are some of the most skilled, patient-focused and caring nurses I have known. Their ability to reflect on and learn from their successes and things that may not have gone so well is refreshing and reassuring.
Outside work what do you enjoy doing?
Spending time with my family. I am happily married with two sons and love nothing more than going on adventures with them all. If we’re not out exploring then we’re at home enjoying lovely food and wine. I’m lucky to be married to an awesome cook.
What advice would you give a newly qualified nurse?
Ensure you have a good support network.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are unsure of anything. There really is no such thing as a stupid question and as nurses we need to be more open when we do not know something. It’s impossible to know everything; we are all always learning.
What is likely to affect nurses working in care homes over the next 12 months?
There is more focus on supporting care homes which can only be positive. Acute and community settings and care homes must work collaboratively.
The barriers will come down with time and to create a truly joined-up approach to patient-centred care, tenacity will be vital.
Tools will be available in homes to help identify deteriorating residents sooner and be able to manage them and avoid crisis.
Homes will receive more support from the wider networks in the community.