Why I love my job as a clinical lead
Michelle tells us about her role as a clinical lead in a prison environment
I am originally from North London, but I moved to the West Midlands in 2005 after I met my husband and I have been living here for 17 years. I have made friends for life and consider it my home.
I aspired to be a nurse from a young age as I naturally enjoyed taking care of others. At the age of 17 years old I sat an entrance exam at the Whittington Hospital in Highgate North London and unfortunately failed it. My confidence took a bit of a knock and I then looked at an alternative career path.
At the age of 35 years old I attended an open day at the University of Wolverhampton with a friend who was a nurse. A senior lecturer spoke to me, and we had a great discussion. Before I knew it, I was sitting a literacy and maths exam and then I had an interview for an adult student nurse post and was successful.
This was a new and exciting chapter in my life. I could not quite believe it after failing the entrance exam at 17 that I was now about to start studying at university at the age of 35. I undertook three years of training at the University of Wolverhampton which I really enjoyed, especially my placements, and the variety of patients I had the pleasure to care for and get to know.
I qualified as an adult nurse in December 2010 and embarked on my first nursing post as a head and neck nurse on a specialist ENT, maxillo-facial and ophthalmology ward at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. I looked after both elective (planned admissions) and emergency patients (referred from the GP, ED or via on call team). I was also exposed to a number of other patients from an array of other specialities including medical, orthopaedics, gynaecology, surgical, cardiology, mental health, learning disability, elderly care, vascular and many more which really ensured I developed a wide range of knowledge and skills.
I have a passion for education and in particular mentoring/coaching student nurses and undertook my SLAIP qualification in 2012. I later went on to become a sign off mentor which involved nurses in their third year and ensuring they were ready to be signed off and join the NMC register. It was rewarding to become a part of the student nurses journey and on qualifying I felt a sense of pride and still keep in contact with a number of my students to this day.
I have completed a number of degree modules and undertook the acute care degree to further enhance my knowledge at Keele University and the University of Wolverhampton.
After 10 years on my ward I decided to pursue a new pathway into Health in Justice and secured a band 6 team leader post at HMP YOI Brinsford in Featherstone, Wolverhampton and commenced in post June 2020. I had an interest in prison nursing and the challenges that would come with this due to the patient group and environment.
I then had the opportunity to step up as the primary care lead for two months in January 2021 and then applied for a clinical lead secondment in March 2021 which I did for 10 months and later secured the post on a permanent basis in November 2021.
Since working for Practice Plus Group I have had a vast amount of opportunities and education which has further developed my knowledge and skills as a nurse. I completed the professional nurse advocate qualification at master’s level seven in August 2021. I am now actively embedding clinical supervision as this is so important in supporting the clinical staff and ensuring the patients received gold standard care.
As a clinical lead I am now ensuring that my team are exposed to a wide range of education, opportunities and development as they are the future of Health in Justice.
Practice Plus Group work to develop their existing staff whether clinical or non-clinical. Making the move to a private healthcare company has been such a positive experience and the opportunities both educational from a career perspective continues to grow.