Be ready for unprecedented times – 31 years in NHS nursing

Oluwafunmilayo Elizabeth Ayodeji is a Registered General Nurse, an Independent Prescriber and holds a BSC in Clinical Nursing. Elizabeth retired last week and has written this reflection on her time in general practice for International Nurses Day 2021, which is today, 12 May.

I started nursing in 1979 and spent the first ten years of my career in Nigeria, before moving to the UK to practice for thirty-one and a half years. My work has given me experience of both acute and community settings within the NHS.

From 2003 until my retirement on 2 May 2021, I had the privilege of working in general practice. I have been through the ranks of staff nurse, ward sister and up to nurse prescriber, specialising in minor illness management, diabetes, asthma, COPD and all other core duties within general practice.

Supporting other nurses in general practice is important to me. I was able to set up a group for nurse prescribers which provides peer support and education for members within Barnet, with the help from one of the nurse leaders in the borough. I am proud to say the group has expanded enormously and has been one of the main lifelines for many of us during the pandemic.

With so much guidance to take in, the group’s members helped each other by flagging new information so that we were all be aware of what we needed to know. This included highlighting resources to support our own mental health which became very important during the pandemic. We also shared queries on difficult consultations, to get advice from each other.

When the vaccine became available many of us had questions about it, including how the safety checks were completed so quickly. Once again colleagues helped to share information and resources, including how we could access vaccinations as frontline healthcare workers.

During my training as a student nurse, we were told to always be ready for any eventuality or new challenge, but nothing could have prepared me for the pandemic we are facing. Before Coronavirus, telephone consultation made up about 5% of my patient contacts and video consultation were 0% of my work! But both ramped up to 100% within a few days of the pandemic hitting London. I learned quickly how to adapt to this new situation and provide for each patient’s needs.

The ability to switch to video for a consultation helps in some very practical ways, such as examining someone’s tonsils or demonstrating the correct inhaler technique. However, it also helps in subtler ways, such as being able to see the expression on a patient’s face that shows they understand what they have been told or observe physical cues, such as becoming short of breath during conversations. Many patients also value the flexibility of being able to consult without having to travel to the practice.

It was not all plain sailing but with the assistance of a great administrative support, a brilliant clinical team, and a superbly cooperative patients I was able to pull it off. I also worked from home at times, which made me feel safe from catching the virus. This especially matters because the BAME community, to which I belong, is disproportionately affected by the diseases. However, I did miss the face-to-face interaction aspect with my patients and colleagues.

My advice for those coming into nursing, or who are continuing with nursing services, is to be ready and available to embrace changes and challenges as unprecedented times may arise when you least expect. Whatever situation they find themselves, they must uphold the core values of the profession, that is: integrity, promoting social justice for all, being autonomous whilst respecting the contribution of others, maintaining dignity, and promoting the wellbeing of everybody.

Finally, they must ensure that they keep themselves up to date with current developments and look after themselves and their colleagues, both physically and mentally.

Last updated : 11 May 2021

 

EasyJet asking for doctor’s letters for face mask exemptions (23 Jun 2021)

We are aware that EasyJet are asking passengers who believe themselves to be exempt from wearing face masks on public transport, are to bring a signed doctor’s letter or medical...
Read more »

Londonwide LMCs 2021 election nominations complete (23 Jun 2021)

Thank you to all those GPs who nominated themselves to stand for their LMC. All constituent GPs should soon receive details of whether their constituency is going to ballot or...
Read more »

Summer 2021 workforce survey closes on 24 June (23 Jun 2021)

With pandemic capacity issues placing such great strain on London general practice it is more important than ever for us to have broad and up-to-date evidence on the state of...
Read more »

Covid vaccination programme - working with patients (23 Jun 2021)

Dr Emma Rowley-Conwy of Lambeth LMC shares her experience of how the Covid vaccination programme has reinforced and improved links between GP practices and local communities: As clinical director for our...
Read more »

Thank you to Julie Sharman and Jane Betts (23 Jun 2021)

This month we are saying farewell to Mrs Jane Betts, our valued Director of Primary Care Strategy for North Central, North West and South West London. Jane, a health visitor...
Read more »

Tips of the Month June 2021 (23 Jun 2021)

We provide weekly tips based on common queries which come through to us from London GPs and practice teams. These are shared via social media and collated for...
Read more »

Data Security and Protection Toolkit deadline - 30 June 2021 (22 Jun 2021)

Practices need to demonstrate their compliance with the Department of Health and Social Care’s data security and information governance requirements by the end of June. This is achieved by submitting a self-assessment...
Read more »

New GP Contract and NHS England updates - June 2021 (22 Jun 2021)

A number of new guidance and contractual documents were released over the last month, we have collected them here for ease of reference. GP Contract Update to GP...
Read more »

Updated guidance: appointment mapping (17 Jun 2021)

Practices will be aware that there is a contractual obligation to complete appointment mapping by the end of June. To ensure that the data is accurate this will take some...
Read more »
Next Page »