"Free at the point of delivery; the NHS is there for us. I hope to be saying this in 10 years’ time!"
Anita is our Associate Director of Nurse Education and is an Honorary School Fellow for the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton.
A third generation nurse, you could say that the NHS is in Anita’s blood. As a child she spent Christmas Days visiting patients with her nurse parents.
Now a nurse consultant, Anita is responsible for bringing new nurses into our NHS and giving them the very best start to their career.
In her own words, here’s Anita’s amazing story:
When did you join the NHS?
I first joined the NHS in September 1976 as a student general nurse on what was then a state registered nurse course. I have worked for three universities during my career; most of my university positions were joint clinical appointments and I made a decision to come back to the NHS full time nearly ten years ago.
What made you want to join the NHS?
I finished my A Levels in 1976 and most of my friends went off to university. I was interested in psychology and sociology and considered mental health nursing. I was advised to do my general nurse training first.
I am a third generation nurse so nursing was always in my blood. In my early years my family lived in a hospital house attached to a very large mental health hospital in Worcestershire - so Christmas Day was always visiting the wards with my parents! My great aunt, father and mother were inspirational and supported me joining the NHS. My great aunt, Dame Alice Mary Williamson, was a high achiever as Air Commandant and Matron in Chief, Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service so I always knew nurses could go far! My son is a CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services) ward manager so makes four generations of nurses on my mother’s side!
What does your current role involve?
I lead a dynamic and enthusiastic Nurse Education Team that focuses on pre-registration nurse education; Return To Practice (encouraging former nurses who might have left the nursing profession to re-join) the Preceptorship Academy (the programme which supports newly qualified nurses through their training) recruitment and the nursing associate trainee apprenticeship.
As a team we support and guide our amazing mentors to ensure nurse and paramedic students get the best experience ever and want to work with us as they qualify. We work in partnership with at least 10 universities and provide placement experiences for 12 programmes of study. We have brilliant relationships with our university partners, ensuring a successful flow of new nurses to the Trust. An example is developing a partnership with the University of Portsmouth who I work with to create their Mental Health curriculum to start Mental Health nurse training in January 2019 with two cohorts of trainees a year. This will really give a boost to nurse recruitment.
Part of the Nurse Education Team’s remit is to meet with students during their training and engage with them as soon as they start. I am an Honorary School Fellow at the University of Brighton so for me this is about contributing to teaching and curriculum development. We encourage senior nurses to teach students, take on clinical academic roles and share what it is to be a nurse at SPFT.
I also lead on the Nursing Associate apprenticeship trainee programme. The Trust is a member of a local consortium of Health and Social Care providers and we plan to start the Nursing Associate apprenticeship in Spring 2018. This is a new and innovative role for the Trust and feels very positive. The Nursing Associate will be a professional in their own right after completing a two year foundation degree; trained to work in a support role to deliver nursing care in and across a wide range settings under the leadership and direction of a registered nurse. The Nurse Education Team will be supporting those who want to use this qualification as a stepping stone to enter the nursing profession – a great opening for those who are passionate and motivated to be a nurse and need another route in.
I lead on nurse education evaluation and work with my team to ensure we collect data about the student and preceptee experience; collate this and act on it as required. It is an important part of our work.
What do you most love about your job?
There’s just so much ; Meeting with students knowing they are at the beginning of their careers and can go as far as Dame Alice Mary if they want to! Talking with potential Return to Practice Nurses when they make that first enquiry - hearing their stories which are amazing; boosting their confidence; convincing them that coming back to nursing is the best thing ever! Getting the Nursing Associate Training started in the Trust – a new era to be embraced; I enjoy writing and encourage colleagues who are new to writing for publication to get published! It is wonderful to see first time writers in print celebrating great practice; Working with multi-disciplinary/professional teams is great as is working with my colleagues
Carly, Una, Caroline, Dawne and Anne – what a great team!
What do you think makes the NHS so special?
It is difficult to believe that nearly 70 years ago there was no NHS. An idea brought into reality by a Labour Government we have a lot to thank it for as it has transformed millions of lives over the decades. Most people believe in and support the NHS and almost everyone will use it at some point in their lives so it does unite us. Generally it works well (if a bit slow at times) and needs to be celebrated. Free at the point of delivery; the NHS is there for us. I hope to be saying this in 10 years’ time!
What do you think the next 70 years hold for the NHS?
Free at the point of delivery; the NHS is there for us!
We have large numbers of nurse and paramedic students who need brilliant experiences in practice. If you can provide a brilliant experience for our students and nursing associate trainees please contact me - we would really like to hear from you! The Nurse Education Team can support you get student and nursing associate trainee ready.