Case study

Children's staff nurse — Jess Clark

After a stay at hospital when she was a child, Jess decided to pursue a career in children's nursing. She is currently a staff nurse in paediatrics at Oxford University Hospital

How did you get into nursing?

When I was younger, I spent some time at the John Radcliffe's children's hospital receiving treatment. I remember that during this time I was treated with such kindness and passion. I was always given toys and activities to keep me busy and it wasn't a negative experience. Therefore, when thinking about a career choice it seemed obvious that I was supposed to be a children's nurse.

I studied for a BNursing (Hons) in Children's Nursing at the University of West London (Berkshire campus). I found my role as a staff nurse at the Oxford University Hospital after applying on the NHS jobs website. My degree was necessary to take this job on - without the practical elements learned through university; it would more difficult to undertake this role.

What are your main work activities?

To start, I will take the handover from the night nurse in charge, as well as the individual handover for my allocated patients. I check EPR and drug charts and make a plan for the day. I also introduce myself to the families I am caring for that day and do the bedside emergency checks.

I have to manage my time in order to do observations and medication administration on time. I write patient notes throughout the day and help colleagues with tasks that need doing to manage the patient load. By the end of the day, I will finalise the notes, and handover to night staff, ensuring they are happy with care plans.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I am on a rotational placement for a year, so I am gaining experience in three different areas of the hospital. This has helped with my confidence and knowledge.

What do you like most about your job?

I really enjoy meeting the patients and their families.

What are the most challenging parts of your work?

The patient workload can change quickly meaning there can suddenly be a lot more work and urgency so you have to have good time management.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

It is important to be able to manage your time. You need to be passionate about the job because it comes with long hours. The work is challenging and you have to want to do the job. A good idea as well is to involve yourself in new environments or try to gain work experience that will benefit your role.  

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