This site is intended for health professionals only

A new challenge - a new opportunity

Practice nurse Helen Lewis is the newest member of the Nursing in Practice editorial advisory panel. In her first blog she describes how a chance suggestion from a colleague led her to us

This is my first blog for Nursing in Practice. I have read most of the previous blogs put forward by my fellow panellists and wondered how on earth I could match them. However, I have learned in life that sometimes the simplest of things can have a huge impact and inspire and motivate you in ways that you did not think possible.

I joined St David's Clinic as a practice nurse in 2006. Having previously been a midwife and district nurse in South Wales, practice nursing was a new challenge and one where I could combine most of my previous skills to give holistic care to patients - it is June 2006 and being a member of the NiP advisory panel was not even on the horizon, my only concern was to get to the end of the week in one piece, with satisfied patients and feeling that I had done a good job.

There was a lot of new information to take on board and a colleague and mentor within the practice suggested that I subscribe to Nursing in Practice as a way of getting to know what is current in the world of practice nursing. While online completing the subscription form it became apparent that NiP was not just a journal, there were also "NiP Events", so I seized the opportunity to attend the Nursing in Practice Event in Cardiff in April of this year. I thought that this would be the ideal opportunity to network with other practice nurses and company reps alike, and simply get a feel for practice nursing in the 21st century.

The day of the event was full of anticipation, the CIA in Cardiff was awash with stalls and reps, plenty of opportunity to network, discuss forward-thinking initiatives and listen to interesting debate, ultimately gaining knowledge that I could take back to my own practice. There are six members of the nursing team within my practice - four nurses and two phlebotomists. I had been charged with getting as much information pertinent to each individual's role within the team, ie, my mission was to leave the conference with as much as I could carry back to the car!

After lunch and a second opportunity to speak with the exhibitors (and pick up the obligatory pens, post-it notes and other office nice-to-haves) we were called back into the main auditorium to listen to a motivational talk. Myself and my colleague entered the auditorium with bags overflowing which drew Marilyn [Eveleigh's] eye - we had earlier in the day been set a challenge of getting certain objects - only one of which we had obtained. Marilyn mentioned that NiP was looking for new advisory panel members at the top of the afternoon session. While interested I did not think that I had sufficient experience to put myself forward. However, Marilyn had other ideas and when we broke for coffee she approached me and asked if I would be interested.

What an opportunity. I swayed between self-doubt and self-belief; how would I cope with the demands of working, running a house and family and then fulfilling my duties for NiP?

Simplicity is the key to all. Four months on and I am writing my first blog. I hope that you will enjoy my ramblings over the next two years and hopefully they will inspire you to grab every opportunity when it presents itself and not be held back by self-doubt. After all we are all masters of our own destiny (well to some extent!).