My job

I love how my job combines education and training with clinical practice

Clinical educator Nadia Freri wanted to go to the next level, but not as a nurse manager

Clinical educator Nadia Freri wanted to go to the next level, but not as a nurse manager


Nadia Freri acts as a link between education and practice. 

After qualifying as a children’s nurse from the University of Surrey in 2012, I spent two years working in general paediatrics at Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the largest provider of acute hospital services in Surrey.

The care of some of the patients I looked after was shared with the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and after developing a keen interest in oncology, I applied for a band 5 role at the Royal Marsden and got it.

I worked on the 18-bed McElwain Ward at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People and was one of 30 nurses caring for inpatients aged from one to 15. Some stayed with us for months at a time, with most having chemotherapy, radiotherapy or stem cell transplants.

Why I love working with children

One of the best things about working with children is their resilience. They can be really ill then running around the ward a few hours later. I love the way children will tell you exactly how it is, and don't have the capacity to feel sorry for themselves. They quickly realise I'm here to make them feel better, which makes for a very special relationship.

‘I didn't feel being a manager was right for me at that time… I still wanted clinical input and interaction’

The Royal Marsden enabled me to top up from a diploma to a degree and progress my career – during my time on McElwain Ward I worked my way up to a band six then a senior staff nurse post.


Picture: iStock

After five years I wanted a new challenge, but I didn't feel being a manager was right for me at that time. I have always had an interest in education but I still wanted clinical input and interaction with the children, so when a clinical educator post became available, I jumped at it.

My new role is a close link between education and clinical practice, covering all aspects of nursing at the Oak Centre, one of the largest comprehensive children and young people’s cancer centres in Europe.

Illuminating the theory behind the practice

Part of my role is to support evidence-based practice. I teach pre and post-registration nurses the knowledge and skills required to deliver best nursing practice and help them understand the theory behind what we do.

I coordinate a programme of learning and support in the clinical environment to ensure development opportunities are available for new and existing staff, and organise and present study days attended by nurses from other hospitals too.

‘I enjoy organising training and ensuring everyone has the correct skills to do their job to their best of their ability’

The sessions help ensure nurses are up to date with the latest information and it is great to share best practice and knowledge with nursing colleagues, and learn from them.

My role involves assessing nurses to ensure they are safe to practise – anything from taking bloods to administrating chemotherapy – and I work closely with unit managers to ensure training needs are being met and oversee placements for nursing students.

Most importantly, I have a responsibility to be a role model and act as an expert clinician, advocating best practice. I continually look to improve my own clinical knowledge, skills and experience as keeping my clinical skills up to date is critical when helping to educate others.

Take every chance to learn that comes your way

I enjoy my new role as I still have clinical responsibilities, either directly caring for patients or being in charge of a ward, and my experience and knowledge helps other nurses progress in their roles. I enjoy organising training and ensuring everyone has the correct skills to do their job to their best of their ability.

‘After seven years in nursing, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else’

My advice to any nurse is to be proactive in learning and education, be open-minded when learning new skills and take every opportunity that comes your way. I became a mentor and then a sign-off mentor, have attended lots of study days and courses and have also undertaken university modules to enhance my knowledge and understanding of paediatric oncology. This enables me to give good advice to families and deliver high quality care to my patients.

After seven years in nursing, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. My colleagues and I make a difference to children's lives every day and I cannot think of a more rewarding career.


Nadia Freri is a paediatric clinical educator at the Oak Centre for Children and Young People, part of the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

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