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This post is part funded by HPSS Trust and Chest, Heart and Stroke
My experience as a registered nurse gave me the underpinning knowledge and thus confidence to lead the project to develop the Volunteer Stroke Scheme (VSS) which has now developed into a Family Support Service for clients who have had a stroke. Initially the role of VSS Co-ordinator was challenging as it required me to develop my communication and networking skills very quickly. As this was a new service, I had to articulate my vision for the service to both healthcare professionals and the families of stroke patients in order to gain referrals to the service. I also had to develop literature to inform people about the service. I changed from working within a team environment to working on my own, developing my own objectives. The skills I feel this role has helped me develop include; Communication skills both written and verbal, developing promotion literature, speaking to community groups, multi-professional meetings, using local media and fund-raising initiatives. I have learned to work and network with representatives from both multi professional and multi-agency groups whilst providing support and help to patients and their families.
You should be willing to have a go at this if you enjoy the challenge of developing new services or engaging in projects. You should have the confidence to believe in your ability but network to build your contacts and maintain these relationships to provide you with support as you will be working largely on your own. You will need to be sensitive to manage the patient's expectations of recovery. You will need skills in communication but also skills in listening to others. If you feel something will work, then try it.
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