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Neonatal nursing

Kellie Fraser

Name: Kellie Fraser

Job title: Clinical Educator

Speciality: Neonatal nursing

Organisation: Northampton General Hospital

What is your current role?

I am currently the clinical educator on the neonatal unit at Northampton General Hospital.

What was your route to this role?

I have always been interested in teaching and education and have often found myself teaching or actively trying to be involved in teaching since becoming a nurse.

I qualified in 2010 as an adult nurse, I accidentally got a job on the neonatal unit at Lincoln County Hospital while I waited for the permanent position I had interviewed for to be available. As soon as I arrived on the NICU I was totally fascinated, babies still amaze me and I absolutely know I am a NICU nurse, there is nothing else for me!

I gained my neonatal qualification in 2013 and had had some experience at level 3 NICU by this point, I knew I wanted to go into acute neonatal care but that meant changing location and I was young and free so I decided to do some traveling first.

I traveled for 2 years, into the arctic to race dogs and work in tourism. I learnt so much about leadership and management whilst away, as well as resilience and a broader understanding of diverse cultures but I missed nursing so I came back. 

I never dreamed that I would get my perfect job only 6 days after arriving back to the UK but I did, I got my specialty job at Addenbrookes in Cambridge, a busy tertiary centre specialising in all things NICU! 

After working there for over 2 years as a band 6 I knew I had more to give and I knew I wanted to teach so I applied to Northampton as Clinical Educator and it has broadened my perspective in ways I never imagined it would! 

What prompted you to do this role?

I have had some great role models in my time and I am someone that is eager to learn and develop so I recognise the importance of this role and I thought I had all the right qualities to do the job well.

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

  • QIS course in Neonatal intensive care 
  • Mentorship 
  • Neuro NICU skills team training 
  • I am enrolled in the General instructors course and simulation instructor course
  • I am also hopeful that I will get a place this year on the RCN leadership course

I am always keen to learn and develop so I put myself out there, when I am asked to teach or guest speak anywhere I happily do it, I always want to gain experience and contacts to develop. I have been a guest speaker at the university of Lincoln and Leicester and have taught at HIE faculty days in Cambridge. 

How do you see yourself developing your skills?

I will take every opportunity I get to develop my skills, I am always looking for ways to develop.

I plan to keep working on improving my personal skills and clinical skills to be the best clinical educator I can be.

I don't have a specific plan because so far I have just taken opportunities as they are come and made the best of everything.

What is your long-term career plan?

Who knows! I will take things as they come, I am very career focused and always looking to progress but right now I am happy in my work and I will see what comes along.

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

Neonates is often described as a marmite profession, you either love it or you hate it. Give it a go, enjoy the opportunity, babies are fascinating take some time to work with them and you will see.

To everyone in nursing I would say: don't stay somewhere where you are not happy, nursing is so diverse you can move, you can change and you can give something a go, be brave, take the opportunities and always communicate with your team. Without the team around me I would not be in the position I am in now.

What do you most enjoy about this area of care?

The babies and their families, I love building the relationships with them and I feel honored to be part of their very special journey. Every baby is unique! I also love seeing nurses flourish, when they start to love the profession and feel inspired, that gives me so much joy!

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