In the third and final blog of our current ‘Day In the Life Of…’ spotlight on the diversity of nursing roles in telephone triage, Ms Claire Hughes talks about her role as a Professional Practice Educator with NHS 111 Wales.
I work for the Welsh Ambulance Service (WAST) within the Education, Professional and Clinical Practice Team (EPCP) as a Professional Practice Educator to support in developing, maintaining, and improving professional and educational standards. This includes induction training programmes, continual professional education and undertaking audits of clinical calls.
(2) How did you get into your current role/line of work?
I qualified as a registered nurse in 2016 having completed my nursing degree at Bangor University. I commenced my nursing career on both medical and surgical wards gaining a wide range of experience in the management of acutely unwell patients and chronic conditions before I joined the Welsh Ambulance Service. I started in NHS 111 Wales as a Nurse Advisor where I spent a few years becoming proficient in telephone triage, expanding my clinical knowledge and autonomous decision-making skills to provide a high quality and safe assessment.
The opportunity to expand my knowledge and acquire a variety of different skills arose in the form of a Practice Educator role which I grabbed with both hands. This role allows me to combine my passion for learning and supporting others into a rewarding career. I now use the WAST trust behaviours to support other colleagues to provide a high-quality service.
(3) Can you tell us what a typical day in your role/line of work involves?
No two days are the same for me. As a Practice Educator there is a need to be dynamic and able to respond to the needs of an ever-changing service. My working days include a combination of educating and supporting members of staff as well as working alongside other colleagues to ensure continued improvements to the service and that calls are safe, of a high quality and patient centred.
(4) What would you say are the ‘best’ or most rewarding parts of your role?
I am privileged to work in a role that allows me to work as part of a fantastic team to support new and existing staff in NHS 111 Wales where there is the opportunity to be continuously progressing. I am currently studying a Master’s module in remote triage as the field of triage is constantly updating. I am passionate about prudent healthcare and ensuring that I am up to date with best practice to educate other colleagues so that it can be implemented into their telephone triage calls making the service better for both staff and patients, this allows me to feel that my nursing input makes a positive difference.
(5) What advice would you give to others who would like to follow a similar pathway?
Being a Professional Practice Educator in NHS 111 Wales is a fast- paced role in a constantly changing field that is very rewarding with plenty of opportunity for professional growth and progression to other clinical areas.
A fundamental part of the role is the ability to work in accordance with both nationwide and local policy changes such as NICE guidelines, and WAST policy and procedural adaptations to improve quality of care.
I would advise others interested in this kind of nursing role to get as much practical experience as possible in a variety of different healthcare settings. This will help to build a solid foundation of clinical knowledge which is a fundamental basis to telephone triage within WAST.
Claire has a clinical nursing background and works as a Professional Practice Educator for NHS 111 Wales (@NHS111Wales and @GIG111Cymru).