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Neonatal nursing

Rachael Beagles

Name: Rachael Beagles

Job title: Practice Educator and Deputy Ward Manager

Speciality: Neonatal nursing

Organisation: Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

What is your current role?

Practice Educator and Deputy Ward Manager of a Level 2 Neonatal Unit.

What was your route to this role?

Qualified as a Children's Nurse in 2005. Did 6 months of general paediatrics, 2 years of complex care needs in the community before getting a job as a Band 5 staff nurse on the Neonatal Unit. Worked as a Band 5 for 4 years before getting a promotion to Band 6. Did this for 2 years before being promoted to Practice Educator/Band 6 clinical (joint role). Then became Deputy Ward Manager 2 years after this.

What prompted you to do this role?

I've always been interested in education and loved having students when I worked clinically. I particularly love the Practice Development aspect of my current roles - having an idea of how to improve something, and then planning, implementing and evaluating this. Although I miss working clinically on a regular basis, I feel like I'm making a difference to the families on the unit on a wider scale.

What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?

The Neonatal Induction Programme and the Intensive Care of the Neonate (QIS) course, PGCE in Professional Education, local trust leadership course.

How do you see yourself developing your skills?

I'm hoping to apply for the ward manager's position when my colleague retires in December.

What is your long-term career plan?

Who knows! In the next 5 years - ward manager of the Neonatal Unit. That's a challenging enough prospect for the time being!

What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in your area of practice?

It's challenging, there's lots to learn but it is so worth it. I think I benefited from working in other areas before becoming so specialised.

What do you most enjoy about this area of care?

Neonates is an absolutely magical place to work. You are in such a privileged position to be able to share with families so many of the 'firsts' that are taken away from them because they've had a baby on the Neonatal Unit. I don't think I'll ever tire of seeing parents faces when they hold their baby for the first time. I just love it.

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