Talking about her journey from scholar to nursing lead, Lucy Montague stated: “I at all times knew I wished to be a head nurse, proper from being a scholar. I really feel fortunate having at all times recognized what I wished to realize – and that, subsequently, made my journey barely simpler.
“I knew from my coaching that I both wished to work in a busy first opinion or referral hospital, or for a charity.
Fortuitously for Lucy, she noticed a job advert with Fitzpatrick Referrals after commencement and landed her dream job at “The Supervet’s” follow two days later.
Eager to progress up the profession ladder, she made it well-known from the beginning what her ambitions have been.
“That allowed Noel and the top nurse on the time to assist me and create that chance to get to the place I wished,” she defined.
Lucy’s likelihood got here with the oncology hospital opening. She stated: “Noel opened doorways for me when the hospital was created. He knew I wished to be a head nurse, and I used to be the one one within the group who had expressed that curiosity.
“Subsequently, it was a no brainer for him to say ‘I’ve obtained this chance if that’s what you need.’”
But, whereas Lucy has at all times had a plan, she says it’s effective when you have no idea what to do subsequent. Certainly, a part of her function is to information and assist colleagues who’re maybe floundering, and assist them navigate their profession.
“A number of nurses in my group don’t know what they wish to do or what their profession holds, and that’s effective,” she stated. “I’ve nurses, one and two years certified, who come to me saying they don’t know what they wish to do, and I say ‘it’s okay – you have got 40 years forward of you to resolve’.
“For me, essentially the most rewarding side is the assist and mentoring facet of the job. I’ve at all times been within the ongoing coaching of RVNs, and having the ability to sit in an appraisal with somebody who doesn’t know the place to show, and having the ability to assist her or him, is rewarding.”
Nevertheless, Lucy admitted guiding colleagues in the direction of the very best profession path could be difficult. She stated: “It may be a effective balancing act – particularly in the event that they counsel a task I don’t assume they’re maybe greatest suited to.
“So it’s about opening up alternatives for them and suggesting jobs maybe they hadn’t considered, saying one thing like, ‘have you considered doing x, y or z as an alternative? As a result of I see potential in you in that space.
“And it’s rewarding after they come again saying, ‘you’re in all probability proper – that’s one thing I’d love to do’. It’s additionally about encouragement, as some individuals don’t know they’re good at one thing till you present them.”
In terms of carving out a profession path, Lucy defined it was very a lot about horses for programs. She stated: “I’ve a pal who stated she would hate to have my job, however is a incredible senior medical nurse in her personal proper and has been an ideal assist to me.
“However, on the identical time, I’d by no means attempt to push my function on to her, as a result of that’s not what she desires to do. And that’s nice as a result of, if everybody was the identical, you’ll have a group with massive gaps. You want all these completely different abilities and pursuits to make sure you have a succesful group, and do the very best job.”
Managing a group of greater than 80 workers means Lucy needs to be on level with paperwork and value determinations. She stated: “One to ones and value determinations are actually vital as they provide your workers a way of appreciation, an opportunity to have a voice and guarantee issues don’t get bottled up.”
A number of Lucy’s time is spent authorising vacation; implementing new buildings, protocols and processes; and recruiting and coaching these they make use of.
A current achievement noticed Lucy and her deputy overhaul the induction and coaching protocols so that they higher retain their workers as a result of, as she readily admits, the occupation is affected by a retention and recruitment drawback.
Maybe one of many causes for this, Lucy urged, is as a result of RVNs should not properly sufficient knowledgeable in regards to the plethora of thrilling roles accessible to them on commencement.
She stated: “I hear again and again nurses saying ‘I’m going to depart the occupation as a result of I don’t have job satisfaction, I don’t know what to do now, I’m bored and have reached the head of my profession,’ and I believe that’s actually unhappy as a result of there are such a lot of choices on the market, and maybe they haven’t had that supportive group round them.”
The problem of retaining workers is amplified at referral hospitals because of the nature of the workers inside them, Lucy stated. For, whereas a mixture of new recruits from completely different backgrounds, and at numerous levels of their careers, means a diversified and succesful workforce, it additionally means she needs to be perceptive to their particular person wants.
She stated: “Coming from a main care setting, for instance, can imply work is new for some VNs, so we’ve got to offer bespoke assist and a coaching programme that brings them into line inside a sure period of time, so they start from the identical beginning block.
“In return, they don’t really feel they’re drowning in work as a result of they’ve that assist and rapidly realise that, truly, they do know loads and might do the job.”
Lucy stated extra must be carried out to promote the vary of job alternatives open to a professional VN – not simply in colleges and faculties, however to SVNs, too.
She stated: “I believe individuals consider the VN profession as working in a main care hospital, when truly, there are various different alternatives on the market. It wasn’t till I stepped right into a referral hospital in my coaching that I realized about such an providing and thought, that is one other universe.
“That’s after I determined, if I had the chance to work in referral, I’d seize it. Earlier than that, I by no means knew RVNs might concentrate on area of interest areas.”
That isn’t to say Lucy is in opposition to first opinion hospitals, although, acknowledging many individuals spend their careers fortunately inside them, however she stated there’s one other world on the market that simply doesn’t get portrayed.
One other drawback is many myths encompass careers in referral hospitals. Increasing on the purpose, Lucy stated: “There are many myths on the market that trigger some individuals to assume they aren’t clever sufficient to work in a referral hospital, we work ridiculously lengthy hours or the vets have large egos. These are misconceptions, in fact, however they do put individuals off making use of.
“On the identical time, referral follow isn’t for everybody and plenty of nurses are adept to work in main care. However I believe persons are leaving the occupation prematurely when maybe they haven’t explored all the probabilities, together with referral hospitals, when taking up such a task might give job satisfaction and rejuvenate the fervour.”