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60 seconds with homeless health advanced nurse practitioner Wendy Ann Webb

Embracing change and going the extra mile really does make a difference, says advanced nurse practitioner in homeless health Wendy Ann Webb

Embracing change and going the extra mile really does make a difference, says advanced nurse practitioner in homeless health Wendy Ann Webb


Wendy Ann Webb says the best lesson she has learned from nursing is that ​​​​​while
we may be unable to ‘fix’ everything we can always show kindness and respect.

Wendy Ann Webb qualified as a nurse in 1994 after attending the Queen Elizabeth School of Nursing in Birmingham. A Queen’s Nurse with 18 years’ experience in palliative care, she now works as an advanced nurse practitioner in an inner-city GP surgery offering specialist homeless health services. Married with two children, she is also a part-time PhD student – researching end of life priorities within the homeless community – and works as a volunteer at a nurse-led clinic at Birmingham City Mission’s Care Centre. 

What are your main work responsibilities?
I triage all requests for urgent appointments and run clinics within the GP practice, the local homeless day centre and the university campus.

How did you get your job?
My PhD research relates to homeless health, so when I spotted the advert for this homeless-specific advanced nurse practitioner role I applied immediately.

Who are your clients/patients?
Our practice serves ‘residents’ within the city centre, predominantly students living on the university campus and homeless people who are living on the streets or in shelters.

What do you love about your job? 
The variety and the challenge. I love working independently and thinking on my feet. There is never a dull moment. 

What do you find most difficult? 
The short consultation slots – a limit of 10 to 15 minutes is quite a shock after many years working in palliative care. 

What is your top priority at work?
Offering dignity and kindness during consultations, and making safe and appropriate clinical decisions.

How have you developed your skills in this role? 
By undertaking a specific course in paediatric advanced health assessment and expanding my practice to incorporate contraception and mental health prescribing. 

What has been your most formative career experience?
My first advanced nurse practitioner role in a 70-bed community hospital. I was there for two years.

If you hadn’t become a nurse what would you have done instead? 
Become a counsellor or maybe a chaplain, but it is difficult to envisage any other role being quite so rewarding and varied.

What is the best lesson nursing has taught you? 
Sometimes all we can do is ‘be alongside’ to listen and care. We can’t necessarily ‘fix’ everything, but we can always show kindness and respect.

What career advice would you give your younger self? 
Embrace change – it will be constant – go the extra mile, because it makes a difference, and enjoy where you are on the way to where you are going.

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