I am a Clinical Academic Nurse Consultant working in the field of tissue viability. I have an integrated NHS / University post that offers the best of both worlds.
I work three days a week for the Newcastle Hospitals delivering expert hands-on care and spend the other two days undertaking nursing research at Northumbria University that has rapid clinical impact for the patients we see.
Clinically I assess, plan, deliver and review care for patients with wounds of differing aetiologies as they are first admitted to hospital. I also co-lead a regional multi-professional Healing Clinic for complex wounds.
Academically, I work at Northumbria University as a researcher and my interests focus on leg ulceration, clinical pathways, and ways to prevent simple wounds from becoming chronic ulceration.
I have a keen interest in pragmatic dressing evaluation methodology that adds to the body of wound care knowledge. Collaboration with both patients and clinical colleagues is central to my approach to wound care and research.
My vision is to offer an improved journey for patients across the region. Research is at the heart of this vision.
How did I get to be a Clinical Academic Nurse Consultant?
My nurse training was the traditional apprentice-style course (RGN). I then studied for two years to gain a Diploma in Nursing, followed by a further two years studying for the Degree in Nursing.
My first love was trauma and orthopaedic nursing and I worked as a staff nurse in the speciality for a number of years in different hospitals across the North East.
To build on and consolidate my knowledge I moved to plastics and reconstructive surgery at the RVI for a year and then in the High Dependency Unit at the Newcastle General Hospital for a couple of years.
I was then seconded to Patient Services for 12 months to teach nurses how to cannulate and venepuncture. This gave me a new perspective in terms of the diversity of nursing roles available.
In 2000, I completed a Masters in Advanced Nursing Care, became a Tissue Viability Nurse in 2002 and established a small team to work alongside me.
My studies continued with clinical academic specialisation (MSc in Wound Healing and Tissue Repair) followed by a Professional Doctorate in Nursing which was completed in 2016.
I was offered a prestigious Leadership Research Fellowship to develop a clinical academic nurse consultant role, a trailblazing post that spans across two organisations.
Three years later, I advanced to the position of Clinical Academic Nurse Consultant.
The Trust supported the vision to develop the clinical academic nurse consultant role with a clear vision to integrate research into care and actively supports nurses to undertake research on topics that are specific to nursing.
How does a typical day look like?
Every day differs. When I am based at the hospital, I have a very long list of patients that needs to be seen, their wounds assessed and treated.
I support nurse colleagues on the wards to deliver wound care to their patients. I also support the acute and community Tissue Viability Team in their professional development.
Tissue Viability is based on a shared vision for what ‘good wound care looks like’ and together we strive to support our colleagues to deliver the best wound care they can.
When at university I prepare for academic endeavours that include applying for funding, setting up studies, applying for ethical approvals and writing papers to be published.
Findings from the studies that I lead have added impact as I can implement them directly into practice when I work at the hospital, bridging that ever challenging theory-practice gap.
Any future aspirations?
Surprisingly, there is little research that pertains to wound care and the best way to dress a wound. Additionally, the support for patients and carers depends on the knowledge, skills, and experience of local teams.
What training is needed for your job?
A passion for wound care management and how to prevent wounds is essential, alongside a strong drive for academic success as the journey to a doctorate is one of self-motivation, endurance and personal growth.
‘Patient centred care’ means just that, working alongside patients and their carers to achieve what they want to achieve rather than what we believe they should achieve.