Thursday, 10 May 2018

It's a new millennium and the time for a career move is fast approaching - Gillian Goodwin

Gillian Goodwin - quality improvement nurse

In the lead up to International Nurses Day this Saturday, Gillian talks about her nursing career at The Christie over four decades. Each day this week Gillian will share her experiences by each decade.

I have worked at The Christie as a nurse for more than 34 years and have seen many changes along the way; not just the many patients and colleagues who have come and gone, but the changing fabric of the buildings and the ever advancing treatment technologies and nursing practices. What has not changed, however, is the Christie ethos of always putting patients at the centre of everything we do. I witnessed this myself as a Christie patient back in 1982 and realised that The Christie was where I wanted to launch my nursing career. So in September 1983 I arrived at the Christie as a newly qualified staff nurse and have been here ever since!

The 2000s

By the time the new millennium dawned I had been a ward sister for 12 years and, despite continuing changes in nursing at The Christie, I felt I was in a loop. Challenges were just old challenges wrapped up in another guise. The time for change was fast approaching.

An opportunity arose for me to leave bedside nursing after 20 years for a role in quality improvement and staff support. I became co-leader of a project to achieve Practice Development Unit (PDU) accreditation for Wards 1, 2 and 3. This was supported by The University of Leeds from which PDU accreditation would be awarded. The biggest challenge was persuading ward nurses that positive feedback from patients was not a licence for complacency and that, in the new millennium, care quality would come under much greater scrutiny. Well we got there and the three ward ‘unit’ became an accredited PDU in 2005.
My role at that time also involved supporting newly recruited nurses during their first days on the ward and also nurses struggling to meet the needs of the role. Nursing performance was by now being formally assessed through annual appraisal and managers had become proactive in dealing with poor standards. Back in the 1980s poor performance among nurses seemed to be rarely challenged or acted upon.
This exciting, fulfilling stage of my career was quickly marred, however, by the advent of Agenda for Change and, in my opinion, the brutal affect this had on many nurses, including myself at the time. By now I had won promotion to H grade as a Practice Development Nurse and found myself virtually ‘demoted’ when nursing grades were replaced. This was the low point even when on appeal this was partially remedied, I still felt that I had taken a backward step.
My role and career direction moved about a great deal during the noughties. My role evolved, evolved again and eventually I found myself in need of a completely new job description.
The emerging revelations of events at Mid Staffordshire Trust resulted in a groundswell of change that affected nurses then and continues to affect nurses to the present day. Nursing has never been under so much scrutiny and mid-Staffs saw the advent of increasing amounts of nurses’ time taken up with recording evidence of the care they deliver. This was not just recording care given but participation in audit and other data collections. The irony was that nurses’ time to care started to be eroded.
Tomorrow - the 2010s

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