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All in my day’s work

During the Queen’s Nursing Institute awards ceremony in 2014, England’s chief nursing officer (CNO) Jane Cummings asked to shadow Queen’s Nurses while they worked.

During the Queen’s Nursing Institute awards ceremony in 2014, England’s chief nursing officer (CNO) Jane Cummings asked to shadow Queen’s Nurses while they worked.

I volunteered and Ms Cummings spent a day at our trust in March after nearly eight months of planning the programme for her visit.

Pamela Shaw (left) took chief nurse Jane Cummings (right) on a home visit to meet Owen (centre) and his mother Sarah

On the day, Ms Cummings met both managers and health visitors. They discussed Call to Action, the national health visiting implementation plan and its six high-impact areas, the possibilities for health visitors to improve health outcomes for children, families and communities by reducing inequalities, and how health visitors are shaping the services of the future.

She also acknowledged the crucial work of practice educators and community practice teachers and I shared my ideas for supporting students and retaining newly qualified health visitors. These include:

Student welcome packs giving information about the structure of the organisation, contact numbers and how to plan learning experiences.

Support groups enabling students to link theory with practice.

Health visitor preceptorship packs to ensure the smooth transition from student to newly qualified health visitor.

During a home visit, my client Sarah explained to Ms Cummings that the good relationship she has with me as her health visitor had encouraged her to seek out information about her own health and that of her baby.

At the ed of the visit, Ms Cummings and I discussed the importance of retaining the existing workforce by ensuring that teams remain motivated and focused on the implementation plan and the six high-impact areas.

The shadowing experience enabled me to show Ms Cummings the work we do for local families and to share some innovative ideas.

I hope that others will be inspired to arrange similar experiences – if not with Ms Cummings, then with their own trust chief nurse. Such occasions can show how high-level strategic decisions affect clinicians and service users, and conversely can affect high-level decisions.

During Ms Cummings’ visit, health visitors were able to explore why decisions are made, their justification, the challenges these decisions can present and how these can be overcome.

As a Queen’s Nurse I have contributed to conferences, policy groups and benefited from award nominations. Having networking skills and the courage to contribute to health policy has enabled me to be a member of the CNO’s black and minority ethnic advisory group, which helps shape local and national policy.

I am grateful to Sarah and her son Owen who gave up their time to be part of the shadowing experience.


Further information

Call to Action health visitor implementation plan

Community Practitioners and Health Visitor Association

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