My job

My job: nurse consultant Karen Goudie

National clinical lead for older people at Healthcare Improvement Scotland Karen Goudie on designing new ways of working.

National clinical lead for older people at Healthcare Improvement Scotland Karen Goudie on designing new ways of working 

What is your job?

I’m nurse consultant for older people in acute care in NHS Fife in Scotland, leading on improving care, transitions and experience and service transformation.

I’m also national clinical lead for older people at Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS).

Why did you become a nurse?

My gran was always in and out of hospital in Glasgow when I was young and that’s where my interest in nursing started. I was struck by the professionalism and technical ability nurses provided to care for her.

What might you have done otherwise?

I applied for primary school teaching but ultimately chose nursing. Interestingly, there’s a lot of teaching involved in the work I do now in leading education and improvement activity with staff.

Why did you choose to specialise? Or if you didn’t choose, how did you come to work in the field?

I spent more than five years working as an advanced nurse practitioner in a Hospital at Night team. That’s where I developed my interest in the care of older people, particularly the ability to change their outcomes by focusing on coordinated person-centred care. 

What does your work as the national clinical lead for older people at Healthcare Improvement Scotland involve?

I am in my fifth year at HIS. I lead on the design and direction of Scotland’s national programme in partnership with clinical experts throughout NHS Scotland to ensure the coordination of care for older people with complex needs. My role covers improvement, education, design and production of evidence-based standards for older people in the country.

How does your national role affect your daily practice as a nurse consultant?

My work as a clinical lead influences my work as a nurse consultant every day. The use of improvement science methodology has been essential to my success as a nurse. I quickly recognised the need to enhance communication between all disciplines involved in delivering comprehensive assessment; this influences the changes I’ve helped introduce in all the healthcare facilities I’ve worked in.

Where have you worked previously?

I’ve been a clinical staff nurse in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and in Lanarkshire. I’ve also been a clinical adviser in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. I’ve been a team lead in NHS Forth Valley and a cardiac liaison sister in Glasgow.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Having the ability to innovate with clinicians and partners.

What is the greatest challenge?

Designing new ways of working requires engagement so it can sometimes be difficult to convince all disciplines that older people are our core business throughout acute care.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

I have two beautiful daughters who take up most of my non-work time.

What nursing achievement are you proudest of?

My team in NHS Fife and their development over the past two years. I’ve played a lead role in designing two national resources to reduce variation in care across acute hospitals: Think Frailty and Think Delirium. I’m proud that Think Delirium is now a vital part of care delivery in Scotland.

What advice would you give a newly-qualified nurse in your field?

Be curious, learn every day and keep the person you care for at the centre of everything you do. You work in a new and connected world so learn from others through rapid sharing of information via social media, particularly Twitter.

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