We have decided to nominate our Lead Nurse for a page in the Florence Nightingale honours Book as a retirement gift as after 42 years in the profession
At the age of 18, Jill left Wales to move to London to undertake her nurse training .Initially a pupil nurse Jill competed her State Enrolled nurse training and quickly followed this up with further training to become a Registered Nurse.
Always one for education Jill then went on a mission to achieve a plethora of specialised courses in Intensive Care, Paediatric Cardio Thoracic care, Care of people with sexually transmitted infections, Family Planning, Care of people with HIV, teaching and assessing and Research. In addition to this she did a BSc (hons) in Health and Social Care and a MSc in advanced nursing practice and post graduate diplomas in Management and Business Studies, climaxing in becoming an independent Nurse prescriber in 2003.
Jill’s first job as a qualified nurse was at the Royal Brompton Hospital on the children’s intensive care unit where she worked for several years, and still misses it. According to Jill working with sick children was the most satisfying job ever and she is still in touch with some of the children and their parents. Although she loved the job it was very stressful and so to avoid burning out she decided to specialise in Sexual Health, an ambition she had had since her teens.
Sexual Health had always been something Jill wanted to do; when she was 15 years old, during a Sex education class, she asked the teacher what qualifications she needed to do his job. It turned out he was a charge nurse in a sexual health clinic, the seed was sown, and eventually this became her defining job for the next 30 years.
Taking a staff nurse post at the Royal London Hospital in 1989 she was promoted to her first sister’s post 6 months later. The Sexual Health of the Nation was changing rapidly in the late 1980s with the first HIV patients and clinics becoming more focussed on research sexual health became more interesting , ever changing and challenging area to work in.
In the 1990s Jill was approached to take a job in a sexual Health clinic in Thurrock she accepted the challenge to make it a “ one stop shop “ service and for 14 years as lead Nurse / Service Manager Jill developed the Sexual health services of Basildon and Thurrock. Within 4 years The clinic gained a “Charter Mark “for exceptional public services, the first one of its kind to be awarded to a sexual health service in the United Kingdom. At around the same time another opportunity gave her the opportunity to work with two Essex based universities becoming an Associated Tutor teaching on sexual and reproductive health , HIV, cytology courses and running a short STI course .
Working in an organisation that supported staff to take up challenges led to Jill and her colleagues winning National awards for Innovation in practice and runners up in the Nursing Times Awards. Jill’s passion was always to improve services and be a hands on nurse in a predominately nurse led service , so when the opportunity arose to move to Barking and use all her skills to help plan and champion Sexual health there it was too much to resist. 11 years later Jill has succeeded in the objective she set herself when she took the job initially which was to enable all the nurses under her management to have specialist courses in the field of sexual health and to be able to work as independent nurse specialists.
Jill retires satisfied she has done her job to the best of her ability and looks back with fondness on the memories she has and the advances she has seen and been a part of in advancing nurse practice led sexual health services .