International Nurses Day, 12 May 2020, marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The special day is an opportunity to recognise the role of nurses of all professions and levels, and the contribution they are making during the current pandemic.
Lynda Whincup, who works for NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as a Professional Advisor – Primary Health Care, looks back on 45-year career in nursing, predominantly in the community.
Lynda says: “I’m in the eve of my nursing career having worked for forty five years as a Registered Nurse in a variety of roles – nearly all of which have been within the community setting.
“As a student nurse in the early 70’s I was placed with a District Nursing Sister in the Croyden area, near London, and I realised that being a nurse in the community was the most fulfilling experience. A couple of years after qualifying I was fortunate to gain employment and train as a District Nurse.
“All of my roles from being a District Nurse, teaching, professional leadership, operational director, Executive Nurse and finally in my semi-retirement as a Professional Advisor have always been focused on the delivery of care and support to people in their own home or in a community setting. I was the guest in the home and I worked to my patients’ individual needs. I have always enjoyed the variety of the work and expanding my knowledge. I could be visiting someone requiring wound care one visit, and the next visit would be to someone who was at the end of their life. I would sometimes get caught out when patients think you are a ‘master of all’. One patient was so pleased I had managed to solve his catheter problem, he said: “Now you have sorted me out, are you any good with televisions!” This was not my forte!
“As my career progressed and I was able to develop services with all the difficulties and hurdles this brought, the knowledge that services were improved through evidence-based practice was always my reward.
“My advice to the nurses of the future would be:
- As you go through your journey, have a mentor/s that you relate to. I have found this invaluable from my early days to my time as an Executive Nurse where I was able to seek advice, learn a different approach and share my doubts.
- Take the opportunity to broaden your skills whenever you can and wherever your nursing pathway takes you.
“I didn’t complete my Masters degree until I was in my forties. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed because, after all, I was a practical person and didn’t consider myself an academic but my father was so encouraging and one of his best comments was:
“There’s no point knowing the cubic capacity of a jam jar, if you can’t get the lid off to eat the Jam – priceless!”
[Emma Shakeshaft – NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group]