We have nominated Jo because she is professional, compassionate and dedicated to providing the best possible care to her patients. Jo is committed to continuously improving her knowledge and keeping up to date with all the latest developments within her specialised field of cardiology. Jo also obtained a BSc (HONS) degree in Psychology from the Open University and her knowledge and natural empathy complements her technical expertise in patient communication, earning her much respect from both colleagues and patients. More recently, she has volunteered to assist with the national COVID-19 vaccination programme and like the many thousands of NHS staff, both clinical and non-clinical, has bravely worked through the pandemic. For her, nursing is more than just a job but is a true vocation and for these reasons amongst many others, we all love her.
Jo says – For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a nurse and when I was offered a place to start training as a State Registered Nurse at Barnet General Hospital in 1980, my dreams became a reality. When I took my first steps on my first ward as an 18 year old student, it felt like I had come home and was where I belonged. My first ward was a male medical ward and I have had a preference for medicine ever since but in those early days, I could not have imagined I would be where I am today.
Once upon a time a nurse would have to choose between having a career or a family; I have been blessed to have both. I welcome many of the changes in the nursing profession which allows greater role diversity and opportunities for career development. Less welcome is the amount of time spent facing a computer screen rather than facing a patient. These technologies have also brought many benefits, although it is not something I would ever have envisaged! In the early days our work was very task orientated but there is now a much greater focus on autonomous and extended practice roles. Nurses still deliver the ‘basics’ of care but we are now undertaking duties which once would have been solely in the doctor’s domain. I now work as an autonomous Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiology which includes undertaking clinical examinations, cardiac procedures and making clinical decisions for a cohort of patients. I am also a non-medical prescriber which has transformed the care I can deliver to my patients and I consider it to be one of my greatest achievements.
My passion for patient care remains as strong now as it did 40 years ago. The fundamental tenets that underpin nursing practice remain the same and very close to my heart. There are so many stories to be told; some funny, some sad, some inspiring and some humbling. Perhaps one day I will write my memoirs as a legacy and tribute to nurses everywhere. There is nothing more rewarding than the connection between patient and nurse and it is an honour being able to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.
I still feel at home and I am proud to be part of the NHS family.