We're celebrating the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Here Clare McAdam, our Perinatal General Manager and Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Clinical Lead – South West Clinical Network, NHS England shares her story about her career in nursing and the difference that it has made to her and others.
My typical day has changed so much in the last 10 years. I have gone from being a working Perinatal Mental Health Practitioner, completing assessments, attending birth planning meetings and working closely day-to-day with midwives and health visitors to managing a Perinatal Service across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, leading services operationally with the mandate to deliver safe, timely and patient centred care for women in the perinatal period. Now my day-to-day work is service development, managing staff, working with mums with lived experience and investing in the next generation of nurses, by supporting preceptors on our Mother and Baby Unit, lecturing at Plymouth University and engaging with the different pathways nurses can access their training.
For me the difference is being a collaborative, engaging and compassionate nurse. The skills I have developed since qualifying (over 30 years ago) has supported me to forge a career in nursing which has been varied, rewarding and diverse. It is the passion and drive that has enabled me to be visionary and focused – taking NICE Guidance and interpreting this into a service map of standards and care delivery. This has pulled on all my nursing skills and enabled me to develop my leadership skills and knowledge.
Knowing patients have evidence based care delivered with kindness, compassion and professionalism is validating, being able to later work with some of the mums we have cared for with their lived experience has been a remarkably insightful and rewarding experience.
I would say to anyone considering nursing or midwifery as a career that if you are curious about what it means to be a nurse, go and talk to nurses working on the ground, go to recruitment and engagement events to find out more.
A career in nursing for me has been the most rewarding experience, also challenging, but inspirational. It has made me a passionate and compassionate nurse and leader. There are so many opportunities to diversify in nursing, so many different career pathways to explore. Inspiration, I have found is infectious!
Be prepared to experience challenge, success, sadness and joy – it can be an emotional rollercoaster. However, with good supervision and support these experiences will enable you to grow as a confident, experienced and knowledgeable nurse.
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