When I first became a Queen’s Nurse last year I was determined to ‘do something’ to help to highlight the amazing work that Queen’s Nurses, and, in fact, nurses everywhere do, so when the Queen’s Nursing Institute’s CEO Crystal Oldman suggested at the QNI awards ceremony that we might like to invite local politicians to come and shadow us, I was on it!

I emailed the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees (with much encouragement from my marvellous Director of Nursing and Care Services)… And he replied! Not only did he agree to come but he also asked to bring along Councillor Helen Holland (Cabinet Member with responsibility for Adult Social Care and Integrated Care System).

Shadowing my job is complicated as my role, working in the Director of Nursing & Care Services team, means that I am often involved in confidential meetings and travel between our seven sites. My role requires two approaches: the day-to-day approach, which involves problem solving and meeting challenges head on and the long-term approach, which is all about ensuring that we can continue to provide a high standard of care in 1 year, 2 years and even 5 years’ time. I wanted to ensure that both Marvin and Helen got a real flavour of the work I do, the amazing teams I work with and the challenges we face as nurses working in social care. With this in mind, I brought together some of the teams I work with to highlight projects that I am leading, including our trainee nursing associate (TNA) programme and our falls prevention programme. It was important to me to give people an opportunity to shine and to show what we do and how I, as a Queen’s Nurse, support them.

When the shadowing day arrived, it was met with a flurry of activity; it was great to see the whole team come together to make the afternoon a success. Marvin and Helen arrived right on time and with flowers… a really thoughtful and appropriate touch, after all they were visiting people’s homes.

The day definitely helped to create a general awareness of what a Queen’s Nurse is and the work that we do, and helped to highlight the brilliant nursing and care teams working in social care.  

Teresa Chinn MBE QN

We spent lots of time talking and during conversations explained things like workforce challenges and how we are meeting this challenge by providing apprenticeships for TNA’s and beyond that Registered Nurse Degree Apprenticeships. Marvin and Helen were able to meet some of the wonderful TNA’s that I support and the TNA’s were able to practice some of their clinical skills by taking Marvin’s blood pressure! We were also able to explain some of the falls prevention work we are doing and how through sometimes small interventions we reduce the risk of people falling and are able to ultimately reduce hospital admissions and all the complications associated with someone who is frail going into hospital.

Both Marvin and Helen spent a lot of time listening, asking really pertinent questions and then listening some more. They were both clearly deeply interested in nursing and social care and used the experience as an opportunity to take that learning and insight into their own roles. During the debrief at the end of the afternoon, Marvin talked about how he wants to map services across Bristol, and look at how services are, or aren’t, working together. This was a great opportunity to share things that are going right and that both the falls prevention work and the TNA work is not done in isolation, but rather with the support of people beyond our own organisation – for example we would be unable to support TNA’s without funding from Bristol City Council.

As the afternoon came to a close, it was great to take some team pictures and reflect on how the day was a fantastic opportunity for all involved to come together and share perspectives and roles. The day definitely helped to create a general awareness of what a Queen’s Nurse is and the work that we do, and helped to highlight the brilliant nursing and care teams working in social care.

I cannot thank everyone who was involved in the shadowing afternoon enough – from Marvin and Helen for being such interested and invested guests, to the inspiring Brunelcare team who always pull together to make everyone feel welcome.

Cover photo: Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees having his blood pressure taken





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