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I am a Ward Sister in Iveagh Centre which is an eight bedded regional in-patient assessment and treatment unit for young people with a Learning Disability. My role is multifaceted but first and foremost I am responsible for leading the team in delivering a high standard of person centred, safe, effective care at all times. To do this I manage the personal and professional development of the nursing team, audit patient care, oversee discharge planning, manage finance and monitor standards of care. However this list is not exhaustive!
I completed a BSc Learning Disability Nursing at Queens University Belfast and subsequently began my career as a Staff Nurse in children’s learning disabilities services at Muckamore Abbey hospital in 2008. In 2010 I secured a post in Child Adolescent Mental Health Services at Beechcroft where I worked for one year. I then transferred back to Learning Dsability children’s services in the Iveagh Centre in Belfast. I achieved a Band 6 Deputy Ward Sister role in 2014 and in 2016 became Acting Ward Sister with this post being made permanent in 2017.
I have recently graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychoanalytical Observational Studies co-ordinated by The Tavistock Centre where I worked with children, adolescents and their families. This has been of great benefit to me - helping me understand and manage the emotional challenges of some of our young people and how these can impact on their overall health and well-being.
In 2014, Iveagh introduced the Positive Behaviour Support model which has brought tremendous positive changes to the delivery of care in the service. I have been a champion of this model and have represented Iveagh at several forums to speak about the success it has been. In 2017, Iveagh won first place in the Patient Safety category at the National Patient Safety Awards. I was part of the team who presented our achievements in introducing and sustaining a Positive Behaviour Support approach within our unit and this was an exhilarating and rewarding experience.
I am passionate about developing Learning Disability children’s nursing services and feel that my role as Ward Sister gives me the opportunity to do this. I have been involved in developing and introducing many changes at Iveagh and look forward to the challenges that my future at Iveagh will bring. Iveagh can be extremely demanding in many aspects, particularly the role of Ward Sister, however the team at Iveagh are highly skilled in supporting each other and managing difficult situations and I am very proud to be Ward Sister of an extremely specialised team.
It is very rewarding when a young person is able to return to their family or school placement after receiving intense therapeutic input from the Iveagh multidisciplinary team.
This is a challenging role and requires stamina, the ability to contain highly charged emotions and an interest in service improvement. It requires the individual to be innovative, flexible and compassionate and have the ability to pitch your communication skills to varying levels. It requires the individual to face adversity and have the ability to manage a diverse team but to also enjoy the complexities and challenges this brings and celebrate individual and service achievements.
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