Having qualified as a registered nurse in 1986 I never thought wheezy chests would be my passion. My first ward as a junior staff nurse was thoracic surgery – looking after men who were having lungs or parts of lungs removed, mostly after a cancer diagnosis, and trying to encourage them to cough up all kinds of things, that really made me feel quite queasy as a bright young thing.
I started in general practice 25 years ago having passed through a traumatic 18 months on a paediatric plastic surgery and burns unit, my heart still goes out to those poor children and their families, and a thrilling 18 months in A&E that I just loved.
When I began working in primary care things were changing with ‘the contract’ with the emphasis shifting onto health promotion. Having started as a treatment room nurse, I look back and see that like many of us, I have evolved from the role that is now mostly performed by an able healthcare assistant.
My voyage into respiratory care has been one of investigation and pushing the boundaries. I am known for that, with the phrase ‘head above the parapet’ heard all too often, but always in the patient’s best interest. It all started while I was working closely with a GP who also felt patients should have the best respiratory care. I had a Diploma in asthma at the National Asthma Training Centre which is now known as the Education for Health.
Since then I have been involved in research and teaching, completed a MSc in respiratory care and I’m the nurse lead for the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK – a UK wide society for primary care health professionals keen to deliver high value patient centred respiratory care.
Working in primary care means I also have other areas of interest – diabetes, minor illness and triage, managing the nurse team and mentoring student nurses for example, I am also a Queen’s nurse.
I am new to blogging. It entertains my family to think that for someone who talks non-stop it might be an outlet for my musings, but I am planning to be focussed on respiratory. I want to use this blog as a chance to shed light on good practice, new research and technology which will benefit asthma patients.
Carol Stonham is the expert blogger for the Nursing in Practice respiratory resource centre. She is a senior nurse practitioner working at Minchinhampton Surgery in Stroud, which is part of Goucestershire CCG. She has worked for many years as a practice nurse specialising in respiratory care and is also the nurse lead for the Primary Care Respiratory Society UK, a UK wide society for primary care health professionals keen to deliver high value patient-centred respiratory care.