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Working as a Nursing Officer in DHSSPS had a significant impact on my personal and professional development. Professionally, the job included working across NI and liaising with colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales and the Republic of Ireland. This was a fantastic opportunity to widen my horizons, to influence policy especially in public health and community nursing - and to learn that the difficulties of policy implementation are often experienced in very similar ways across the UK and Ireland. As part of the Department, you have to take responsibility for government decisions that may be disliked by your colleagues, so personally I would say to a certain extent that I toughened up during these five years. Implementing independent and supplementary nurse prescribing was a major programme that had a significant impact on my personal and professional development. The project contained a number of challenges including overcoming resistance, bringing together different interest groups, and resolving conflict. These skills are invaluable in nearly any situation where you are leading change. I tend to prefer big picture to detail, and this became a lesson in valuing people who are good at detail and process. Above all, it showed me how, with an excellent colleague (project officer) you can both pull together to achieve more than twice as much! The Institute of Public Health in Ireland a Leadership Programme was a fantastic experience finding out honestly about yourself is the best way to learn to work with other people. And working with other people is the way to make things happen.
Genuine belief in nursing and passion for professional development for nurses. Strong attraction to working for a membership organisation. Opportunity to gain greater experience in management. Attraction to UK aspect of the work (broader than Northern Ireland). Brought together previous experiences as nurse, teacher and policy maker. Excellent terms and conditions.
I am genuinely interested in people and enjoy encouraging and nurturing those who, in my view, have the potential to lead nursing in the future, as well as those who continue to do the most important work of all at the bedside, or in people's homes and communities. I like to look 3-5 years ahead and to see a picture of how the world, including the world of nursing and health care, should be. I like to network, to bring people together, and I am a completer-finisher
If you are prepared to work hard and if you genuinely believe in nursing, then go for it! Working across different organizations, before entering a job like this, helps you to understand where people are coming from and you learn to become adaptable, which is perhaps the most important characteristic for anyone who works in an organization that needs to be responsive. You need to have drive and you should be able to think in imaginative ways about how nurses can be helped to develop and grow.
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