My job

Why my career is diverse, challenging – and extremely rewarding

Nurse Ellie Lindsay has an international profile in the care of people with lower limb problems and promoting patients' rights

Ellie Lindsay has an international profile in the care of people with lower limb problems and promoting patients' rights

Ellie Lindsay

What is your job?

I am an independent specialist practitioner and visiting fellow at Queensland University of Technology, Australia, and life president of the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation. The foundation helps individuals to take ownership of their care when living with leg ulcers and associated conditions.

Why did you become a nurse?

I liked caring for and interacting with people. Nursing is a diverse, interesting, unique and challenging, but extremely rewarding, professional career.

Where did you train?

Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk. I began working for the NHS in 1977 but moved to community nursing in 1988. In 1994 I became a district nursing sister and obtained my specialist practitioner qualification in 1997, beginning as a community practice teacher in 1998.

What is your greatest challenge?

Throughout my nursing career, in both the acute and primary sector, I have sought to deliver person-centered care with compassion, respect, dignity and empathy. The challenge now is to combine this with ever-improving technology in an innovative, creative and cost-effective way. We should aim to help people with one or more chronic conditions maintain their quality of life in their normal social environment.

One of the biggest challenges we face is ensuring integrated working between healthcare professionals. This means encouraging a willingness to embrace change. We need to unite and work in partnership with all the disciplines in health and care as well as research organisations.

What has given you most satisfaction?

I am privileged to have gained an insight into true holistic care. This has come through observing individuals with problems relating to the lower limb providing each other with empathy and support, comparing their conditions and the stages of healing and sharing their wound management knowledge and experience.

I have also been privileged to work with research teams in the UK and overseas, and recently led an international World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS) task force to investigate and promote patient rights by collaborating with internal and external stakeholders.

Placing the individual at the centre of care is a vital part of providing successful treatment for people with chronic problems of the lower limb and one of my roles as life president of the Leg Club Foundation is to chair the WUWHS panel on patient advocacy.

I am pleased to have been given the opportunity to work in partnership with the public, patient groups, NHS policy developers, and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of preventative management of all aspects of lower limb-related problems.

What nursing achievement makes you most proud?

The creation of an effective intervention in lower limb care by introducing the non-medical Leg Club model. This takes a psychosocial approach to person-centred care and our charity brings nurses, individuals and communities together.

Also, I established and led a WUWHS international scientific task force to investigate and promote patient rights, providing an international framework of patient advocacy and community-based schemes in lower limb care.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

Travel, sailing, relaxing with a good book and indulging in gastronomic food and wine with family and friends.

What makes a good community or primary care nurse?

Embracing change, being fully aware of major challenges in society and understanding the need to create meaningful pathways for individuals living with comorbidities, regardless of age.

What advice would you give a newly registered nurse?

Always remember you are delivering care to individuals whose rights and dignity should be respected and they should be acknowledged as partners in the care team. Ensure you have a methodical, diligent approach to safe practice.

What is likely to affect nurses working in primary care over the next 12 months?

The current climate of change in the way the NHS is funded and how provider services are procured present many new challenges and opportunities.

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