International campaign celebrates the diverse roles of nurses in healthcare

The crucial and wide-ranging roles that nurses play within the NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria are being celebrated this International Nurses Day (Sunday 12 May).

Nursing is the backbone of almost every aspect of healthcare, and the annual worldwide campaign aims to shine a light on all aspects of the profession.

As well as traditional and familiar nursing roles, within the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) there are also many roles that are rooted in nursing or have nursing at their core.

Wendy Lewis is the director of system coordination and flow for the ICB. Having followed a regular career path into nursing, she became a clinical teacher supporting students through their training, and has also worked as a ward manager, been involved in the enhanced recovery pathway within the Department of Health, and had roles with NHS England and the Advancing Quality Alliance – but her entire career has been directly informed by a strong nursing foundation.

“That gives a credibility to my role that I’m aware of the clinical and operational environments and decisions that need to be juggled, and I respect the people in those roles hugely,” she said.

“I think it allows me to challenge and support work from a different perspective and contribute from my clinical background.

“My role is to oversee how the system are managing (patient flow) at hospital, place and system levels, using the available resources, and to promote that they involve the voice of the patient, carers and staff in what they are doing.

“I’m desperately proud of my background in nursing and I’ll never lose it. I use it every day – it’s my frame of reference for everything.”

Debbie Wardleworth is the ICB’s associate director of learning disability and autism. A nursing role, a large part of it is supporting people with a learning disability or autism to be discharged from hospital, where they no longer need to be in hospital and can be returned home. Again, the patient-facing experience of nursing is present in all that she does.

“Me and my team support individuals to get the right package of care to make sure that they’re safe, and to reduce the chance of them being readmitted back into hospital. To do that we work with a multi-disciplinary team – community disability nurses, and autism specialists – and we keep the person at the centre of that, which is really important.

“I love my job every day. It’s different; I still get to meet with people, which is important to me as a nurse, I get to speak with people face-to-face and get to work with them, I get to find out what’s important to them and try to put that into practice. But also, I feel like I’ve got the scope to make a difference.”

For Ola Adelusi, the desire to provide support for people that need it is what drove her into nursing, and that hasn’t changed throughout her career, whether that has been working in various specialities, in medicine, in theatre, or in her current role with the Discharge to Assess (D2A) Team as a Continuing Healthcare advisor.

“I actually love what I do and I am passionate about the profession.

“With the D2A team we assess and support the flow of patients in acute hospitals to ensure that patients are discharged in a timely manner to the right place, where they will receive the right care that meets their needs.

“I still feel like I’m supporting the patient. I feel that kind of fulfilment, that I’m doing a lot to get patients discharged as soon as possible from hospital after they are medically fit to go to where they can be cared for safely and appropriately.

“I don’t think I would have done anything else except being a nurse. I believe we do have a beautiful heart, and it’s not about admiration or anything, it’s just the passion we have for the profession, for the job, and of course for the people we look after.”

Images (L-R): Wendy Lewis; Debbie Wardleworth; Ola Adelusi


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