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Carol Anderson

Our Chief Nurse Carol Anderson tells us about her role to mark the Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
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Name and role

I'm Carol Anderson, Chief Nurse at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG.

On a typical day...

Although a portion of my time is definitely spent in meetings and offices, I also make sure I still go out into providers’ facilities at least once a week. Normally, I tend to shadow either newly qualified nurses or nurses who have an aspiration to become leaders themselves. It’s great to work with them, both to share my knowledge of leadership in nursing and to keep a good grasp of what patients’ care is really like on the frontline.

Tell us how you have made a difference as a nurse...

I explain my role as being the patients’ advocate at the CCG. All of my work is ultimately about how we bring the patient’s voice to the decision-making process at the CCG. There’s no doubt that one-on-one interaction with a patient is the most humbling experience to me, but in my role I get to influence strategic decisions that could impact lots of patients at once. That’s both an incredible responsibility and an opportunity, and I will never take it for granted.

What inspired you to go into nursing? What would you say to a young person interested in a career in nursing & midwifery?

To be honest nursing never felt like a “calling” to me initially, and I didn’t set out to become a nurse when I was little. But ever since qualifying as a nurse, I just can’t imagine a better job in the world.

I used to be the type of nurse you’d probably imagine in your mind when you think about nursing. I’d be out on the wards every shift treating patients. This all changed after I got into a serious car accident in 1980.

After the accident I couldn’t walk for almost two years, and I was forced to reconsider what direction my career would take. Although this was obviously a horrible time for me, ultimately it led me down an alternative career path towards an amazing job that I love every single minute of.

For someone considering nursing I would say it is a great profession and the opportunity to make a difference to people who are often at their most vulnerable every day is a real privilege.  I would say there are lots of opportunities for a diverse career within nursing and not just to think about nursing in its tradition form.  Finally I would say yes there will be times where you will think why on earth am I doing this job but by far they will be outweighed by the days where you feel on top of the world as you know you have made a difference.

Are there any good nursing projects/ innovations happening in your organisation or region that you’d like to share?

We have successfully piloted a work ready project which gives bespoke training on primary care for newly qualified nurses.  In this first year of the project we have successfully secured 6 newly qualified nurses into primary care.  The project is continuing into year 2 where we hope to secure more nurses who seek employment in general practice from qualifying.

We are also about to launch the new Tissue viability template for Primary care to ensure better patient outcomes following a 6 month secondment project which not only delivers a higher standard of evidenced based clinical care but will also save significant sums of money.

Are you involved in the Inspiring the Future(https://www.inspiringthefuture.org/) programme? Do you have any speaking engagements lined-up?

We are focussing on this at System Level and the Chief Nurses across the system have all agreed to support events in local schools with our colleagues from workforce and development.  We also speak at Career evenings held by the local colleges.   As part of our year of the nurse and midwife celebrations we are running a come and meet your midwife campaign where school children can come and meet the midwife who delivered them.

Tell us your funniest or amusing work-related story?

As a first-year student nurse a patient had me looking for his lost slipper for over 20 minutes before I realised he had an above knee amputation and didn’t need a slipper.  The patient thought this was really funny and it helped him adapt to having lost a leg.