Hello, my name is Elizabeth Dingley and I’m a Primary Care Network and Place Based Team Lead.
In this blog, I’m going to discuss the impact that nursing has had on me and share my experiences of nursing over the last 20 years of my career.
I qualified as a nurse in 1999; I know I really don’t look old enough. I have just had the pleasure of receiving my 20 year service award at the long service ceremony, enjoying a three course meal and celebrating with others in our Trust.
With the current situation of COVID-19, I have never been prouder to say I am a nurse and part of the NHS. Working in the NHS at times like this makes you realise how we all pull together, work as a team and have great resilience, dealing with constant change and adapting as required.
My career started at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital in the cardiology department. This was a fantastic job dealing with acute cardiac conditions. Reflecting on the 11 years I spent in cardiology shows how medicine changes. For example, when I started this job, the post Myocardial Infarction (MI) patients (a type of cardiac disease) would be treated and then be on bed rest for ten days. However, as my time continued, new treatments became available and patients are now being discharged 24 hours after treatment.
During my time in cardiology, I developed many skills to enhance my nursing practice, including advanced life support, clinical assessment, diagnosis and the best treatments as well as developing gut instinct when patients are not well. This was a very busy environment which was exciting but challenging at times.
I then moved into a post working between Heartlands and Solihull Hospital as a Heart Failure Nurse Specialist, in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation (BHF). This post enhanced my skills further as I was running heart failure clinics, titrating medications and providing education to patients and staff. I had access to lots of training, including advanced communication courses, palliative care courses and I completed the Glasgow Caledonian Heart Failure Course which was very enjoyable. This post introduced me to the world of primary care as it involved both the acute sector and visiting patients at home.
My next post was as a Community Matron in Solihull Community Services. This was a steep learning curve for me as I learned so much about non-cardiac long term conditions and frailty. I was part of setting up virtual wards and working with other members of the multi-disciplinary team including close working with social workers, pharmacists, mental health nurses and physios. My time as a Community Matron sealed for me that I wished to remain in Primary Care and grow my passion for the proactive self-management model of care for patients with long term conditions.
I then came to Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust as a Community Matron and have been lucky to have been supported to complete my Master’s in Advanced Clinical Practice at Coventry University; this has been hard work but very enjoyable and I have met some incredible colleges during my time at university.
My latest role is as a Primary Care Network/Place Based Team Lead which I commenced in February. Again, I am on a learning curve in the world of Primary Care Networks, meeting lots of different professionals all working together to improve patient care and bring true integrated care systems into place in Coventry. This role is giving me insight into the wider NHS agenda and how we all can work as a wider team to support each other and patients, and I am learning quickly with the ever-changing situation at present.
The impact that nursing has had on me over the last 20 years is immense. It has shaped me as a person, allowed me to make true friends and given me the opportunity to develop and learn something new every day.
Nursing must be celebrated as best we can this year as you are forever learning and it is a never boring career choice that I would highly recommend.