Our Nurses. Our Future
The theme of this year's International Nurses' Day is ‘Our Nurses. Our Future.’ We showcase the vital role nurses play in delivering healthcare today, and nurses thoughts on how they will continue to in the future.
David Leaper, Health Team Manager for the Learning Disabilities Service at NCH&C, tells us about his career progression and the advice he’d give to anyone at the start of their nursing career:
“I provide leadership and support to a multidisciplinary team of staff to support adults with learning disabilities in the community. I’m a registered general nurse and started my nurse training in 2004 – so coming up for 20 years in the NHS.
“I have worked in a variety of settings – acute, community, triage, long term condition case management. Working in the Learning Disabilities Service was not something I ever thought I would do – the opportunity arose and I took it with open arms. I love the service I work for and believe we are privileged to be able to support people in the community. I’ve been amazed at the work that the team puts in to support people with learning disabilities. I have my own clinical knowledge base to support me in leadership for a field I am not specialised in – and this combined with my leadership skills has enabled me to focus on a new pathway of nursing.
One of the biggest changes I have witnessed during my time as a nurse I think has to be the approach to assessment and documentation – some for the better. Some of it can be considered repetitive and may be process-driven though. In my opinion this can sometimes affect the building of therapeutic relationships with patients and their carers/families.
A key challenge I would like to see tackled is gaining the acknowledgement that nursing has developed as a specialism in its own right and it continues to grow and develop as a profession. Progression opportunities within the current climate can be challenging as can retention and recruitment of new staff into the organisation. Cost of living continues to impact us all and I obviously would love nurses and other health care professions to receive the recognition they deserve.
I am excited about the sheer number of clinical pathways and areas that people can specialise in. Developing nurses in the senior clinical teams with the Advanced Clinical Practitioner roles and other specialist roles available to nursing colleagues. Also there are many nursing opportunities in senior leadership.
I am lucky enough to really love my job and have been able to move from general or ‘mainstream’ services into Learning Disabilities – however if I was considering another career, I have always wanted to open a tearoom, as I love baking and talking!
My piece of advice for anyone starting their career in nursing would be to remember to always listen to your patients, but not just for the information you ‘need’ from them. Stop and speak with them and make them feel that they have been truly listened to. It will help massively when building trust, rapport and confidence with you as a clinician.
Happy International Nurses’ Day to all my colleagues!