Online resource will help specialist nurses prove their worth

I’ve worked now for many years as a respiratory specialist nurse in several roles both in the community and hospital. Over the last five years I’ve been a nurse consultant within an integrated team - and lucky enough to work alongside excellent nurse and physiotherapist colleagues, seeing patients in hospital, hospice and most importantly in their own homes.

I’m also vice-chair of the respiratory association of respiratory nurse specialists (www.arns.co.uk) and am privileged to work with an inspiring chair and executive committee of specialist nurses all of whom bring not just clinical skills but a whole bunch of other critical skills such as leadership, management, commissioning, academic, research not to mention common sense! These are just a few of the valued and powerfully diverse skills that a specialist nurses can bring to, and develop, within a specialist role.

However, recently I’ve seen and heard examples of where the role has been de-valued, and specialist nurses have been down-banded or asked to work a portion of their time on wards 'covering' shifts. Another comment I also hear a lot is that ‘my manager doesn't understand my role or know what I do’.

In the current climate the support of your manager is vital to enable you to discuss the pressures that all nurses are working under. You need to be able to share experiences and talk through those difficult times with your manager.

This leads me to the Apollo Nursing Resource. Named after Apollo, the Greek 'god of healing, the god of truth', this online resource focuses on the need to support clinical nurse specialists. It seeks to empower specialist nurses to  'speak up about your service, to be able to prepare supporting evidence to demonstrate the complexity of your service and to have the language to articulate the complexity of your role'.

If you are working in a specialist role I would recommend that you have a wander around this informative and excellent website and check out the different areas and make use of the resources and materials available there. If you’re on Twitter contact Alison Leary, a member of Nursing Standard's editorial advisory board, at @alisonleary1 to let her know what you think of it.

The website is a source of support and that is important in these difficult times. I believe that I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without the support network within my organisation. Peer support is valuable too and joining ARNS first as a member and now as part of the committee has enabled me to develop a network of respiratory nurses with which I can share ideas and a passion for the common aim of improving the quality of life for patients with respiratory diseases.

About the author

Matthew Hodson is a nurse consultant at Homerton University Hospital in east London. He was Nursing Standard Nurse of the Year in 2013. @speak2matt