Name: Angela Wright
Job title: CNS for children with Intestinal Failure
Speciality: Paediatric Gastroenterology
Organisation: Barts Health - The Royal London Hospital
What is your current role?
I am currently the lead Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) for Children with Intestinal Failure requiring Home Parenteral Nutrition (HPN).
What was your route to this role?
I started my career as a junior staff nurse on a general paediatric ward with specialist gastroenterology. This was were my love and interest in paediatric gastroenterology began. I did however leave this ward to join a general medical paediatric ward in a hospital that had an A&E department in order to gain some more acute experience. I built on this experience and returned to the world of gastro on a surgical gastroenterology ward as a junior sister, during my time on this ward I acted up as a senior sister to cover a maternity leave post.
Following this experience I decided that clinical management rather that ward management was more suited to me and I took my first CNS role as a the Inflammatory Bowel Disease CNS. This was an amazing opportunity, I was part of a truly Multi Disciplinary Team setting up a service that included a young adult/transition component - it was a very exciting time. I held this role for 8 years, following my own Maternity leave I needed a part time role and therefore transferred to the role of CNS for children with Intestinal Failure.
What prompted you to do this role?
My career history had allowed me to experience both ward management and the management of a clinical case load. I have always enjoyed working within the gastroenterology speciality and saw an opening in an emerging speciality that has allowed me to develop my skills as an advanced nurse practitioner and promote the needs and welfare of children and families with complex long term conditions.
What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?
I am an original Project 2000 qualified nurse; following this I obtained multiple degree level modules of interest. I was lucky enough to obtain funding for national and international conferences - allowing for my interest to really grow in the world of paediatric gastroenterology. During my early years as a CNS, I embarked on the Advanced Nursing MSC programme and obtained a Post Grad Diploma Cert.
I continue to attend conferences and speciality courses to ensure that my knowledge is up to date outside of my work base. I have joined advisory groups and belong to a NHS e-stakeholder group for HPN Home Care Commissioning.
How do you see yourself developing your skills?
I would like to develop my role as a non-medical prescriber.
What is your long-term career plan?
To continue promoting and advocating for the care needs of children and young adults with complex hidden health care needs. Supporting the family unit is crucial when they are undertaking such complex nursing care tasks within the home - I hope to work with national groups to enhance and continue this.
What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in your area of practice?
Find a speciality that really interests you, take your time and learn from others, gaining crucial experience along the way. Although as a CNS you look after a specialist care cohort, it is essential that you have a good understanding of general paediatrics to underpin your practice.
What do you most enjoy about this area of care?
Playing an integral part in helping children, young people and their families throughout the discharge process, teaching complex nursing skills to both parents/carers and young people and supporting children through education and into the world of transition and preparing for adult services.