Name: Angela Cannon
Job title: Lead Nurse, Sexual Health Outreach Services
Organisation: Spectrum Community Healthcare CIC, based at Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health service
What is your current role?
Lead nurse at an integrated sexual health service and lead for the outreach aspect of the service.
What was your route to this role?
I started Registered General Nurse training at Pontefract school of nursing in 1983 and qualified in 1986. I worked as a staff nurse on the surgical unit at Pontefract General Infirmary until 1988 and then started midwifery training. I qualified as a RM in 1989 and worked as a staff midwife in all areas of the Pontefract Maternity Unit for 5 years then was promoted to Team Midwife working in the maternity unit and the community.
In 2002 I left midwifery to do the BSc (Hons) Community Health Care Nursing-Health Visiting at Leeds and worked as a Health Visitor for 4 years. During this time I did the Contraception and Sexual Health certificate at Huddersfield University. In 2007 I started work as an Outreach Nurse within the Contraception and Sexual Health service (CaSH) at Wakefield. The CaSH service and the GU services in Wakefield integrated in 2015, becoming Wakefield Integrated Sexual Health service (WISH). Since then I have become the Lead Nurse for WISH and the outreach service.
What prompted you to do this role?
While working as a midwife the teenage pregnancy rates were escalating across the district and nationally, this prompted my interest in public health/health promotion and the prevention of ill health. Doing the health visiting qualification opened doors to carrying out public health work, visiting schools to teach young people about preventing pregnancy/STI's. This line of work lead me into the outreach nurse role within CaSH working primarily with young people and vulnerable groups. Since the service integration my role developed; I continue to provide care for the young people/vulnerable adults referred to the WISH outreach but I am also in the advantageous position of being able to provide level 3 sexual health care for clients accessing the service.
What education/courses/modules have you undertaken to equip you for the role?
Besides the qualifications listed above I have also done the STIFF competencies course (BASHH), cervical cytology, NMP qualification, Letter of Competence for the fitting/removal of the sub dermal contraceptive implant, safeguarding supervisor's course (NSPCC), Teaching and Assessing in Clinical Practice (the "old" ENB 998)
How do you see yourself developing your skills?
I have recently completed all training requirements for the Letter of Competence in intra uterine techniques and in the process of submitted the paperwork to the FSRH. This allows me the opportunity to fit intra uterine devices for women accessing the WISH service. This year I also plan to develop microscopy skills.
What is your long-term career plan?
I have never had a plan and I wouldn't want to start now.
What advice would you give someone thinking about moving to work in sexual health?
Have an open mind, be non judgmental, don't expect an easy ride- the pace is fast and can be emotionally tiring, have a good sense of humor and have a passion for learning.
What do you most enjoy about this area of care?
Every day is different, I have never worked in an area where there is such diversity. I work with a good, supportive team. The work is interesting and the learning never stops.