May 12th is International Day of the Nurse and Midwife, I am incredibly proud of being a nurse but have to admit to finding it a bit strange that my profession has it’s own day for celebration, when so many other healthcare professions do not. However, the day is here and in these challenging times I am proud celebrate the contribution that nursing and midwifery have made to the care of patients in the ongoing pandemic.
At the beginning of the current Covid-19 outbreak, like many other clinicians in NHS SCW I prepared myself for returning to front line care and did several e-Learning update modules. I talked to friends working in hospitals across England and was acutely aware of how difficult their work had become; I genuinely felt the desire to return and help them. Then I became involved in the Covid-19 Clinical Assessment Service. This service was expected to bring GPs out of retirement in support of NHS111 who were experiencing significant demand from patients presenting with symptoms and who required clinical assessment. I remember having an online discussion with a medical friend who reinforced the importance of working at a population level to support bringing doctors back to the front line, as at that stage, we were not clear what the subsequent weeks and months would bring.
Since then I have worked with a fantastic team from across NHS SCW, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and NHS England and Improvement. The team is multi-disciplinary with many of us having clinical backgrounds; nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, pharmacist, paramedic and even a vet. The blending of this clinical knowledge and experience, complimented by expertise in human resources, business intelligence, information technology and programme management, have all combined to create a team that has built a service from scratch and that now employs over 1000 GPs and has assessed over 40,000 patients experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
Other programmes I have not been as close to, have used NHS SCW colleagues expertise to empower clinicians on the front line with digital technology that has meant direct care on a virtual platform at a scale never experienced before. Support to Incident Co-ordinating Centres, public health data collation and analytics, maintaining appointments to cancer treatments and turning skills to the procurement and contracting of hotel services, all of this has made a huge difference to patients and clinicians across the south of England.
Nursing is a profession that bridges many health and social care professions and it is often the lead or co-ordinating role in a multi-disciplinary team. As the Clinical Director for NHS SCW I am proud to be a part of a leadership team that values a professionally diverse workforce and look forward to seeing more clinicians join us as we support integrated care developments across systems.
The Chief Nursing Officer published the 6 C’s of nursing several years ago, and their relevance to all health care professionals continues to resonate for me; commitment, communication, competency, compassion, caring and courage are all attributes used by people from across NHS SCW in recent weeks. I am proud to be a nurse working alongside my clinical colleagues in NHS SCW, I am even prouder to have been a part of a team and organisation that has made a such a positive difference to the experience of patients across the country.
Happy Nurses Day to all of my nursing colleagues, and to everyone in NHS SCW, who have worked so hard to help the NHS care and save lives.