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Ninja Nurse: Fiona Sanders

What makes you a Ninja Nurse?

I moved into practice nursing 16 years ago and have never looked back! I had the most wonderful mentor when I started, who was a huge inspiration to me and sowed the seeds for my love of practice nursing and taught me not being afraid to step out of the box.

I moved into primary care trust/clinical commissioning group (CCG) land as a practice nurse lead for varying localities. This was a super experience as it gave me a rounded view of all areas of primary care.

I then went on to work in practice nurse workforce development and education, which was great as I was able to ensure that staff working in general practice had access to the much needed development and support.

However, despite doing some clinical work and mentoring nurses new to general practice, I really missed building relationships with patients, so moved back into practice three years ago and love it! I still do support work with the CCG and also am a CQC advisor for practice nursing.

Does the above make me a Ninja nurse? Who am I to say? I think we all are! But if passion, drive and a true belief in general practice nursing is on the Ninja specification – then yes, I’ll happily Ninja all day!

Profile: FIONA SANDERS

Role:

  • Lead practice nurse

Degrees:

  • BSc Adult Nursing
  • Community specialist practitioner - practice nursing degree
  • Non-medical prescribing

Specialist interests:

  • RCN General Practice Nurse Forum committee member
  • Health promotion
  • Diabetes

Have you ever had to use your Ninja Nurse powers to rescue a GP?
I would like to say yes, with a cape flying behind me and some sort of superhero logo and name! However, in reality it is very much about working as a team and rescuing each other! Be this with clinical advice and support, cups of tea, laughter, tears, a safe haven to vent or encouragement then it’s a daily mutual rescue mission.

Why do you think practice nurses are ‘ninjas’?
So, I ended up looking to what the word Ninja meant and have selected some of the meanings – 'Nin' – to persevere, 'Ja' – person, 'Ninja' - a person who excels in a particular skill or activities.

A person who perseveres and excels in a skill or activity – GPNs certainly do this, but excel in multi skills due the many facets of the role. It is such a privilege to care for such a wide range of age groups, conditions and back grounds. If I wrote my own dictionary definition I would also add 'a powerful master at coping with constant change and pace’.

What would you like to see changed in order to increase appreciation for practice nursing?
Taking on board and embedding the 10 point plan, also most certainly more investment and appreciation for the need of support and access to education, student nurse placements and some form of recognition and consistency for those not on Agenda for Change. For the patients to fully understand the role of the practice nurse and all the practice nursing team, and for them to see how much the varying roles are expanding and what we can offer them.

Do you regularly work overtime or through your breaks?
I am not sure there is a nurse out there who doesn’t! However, it is my choice to do this and not something that is forced on to me. If I need to run over a break to deliver sound patient care, then that’s what I do. I have to say that I am incredible fortunate to be supported by the practice team.

What practice initiatives are you involved with?
We currently have a strong focus on those patients at high risk of developing diabetes and the education and support for these patients. We also ran a fantastic Halloween Fluenz party last year, which significantly increased the uptake – fancy dress, spooky biscuit making, Halloween pictures and decoration making, the reception staff were a huge help with this and the children seemed to love it. We also work with the local neighbourhood navigators to support patients with social issues which are impacting on their health.

Would you encourage other nurses to move into general practice in 2018?
100% yes! During my varying roles I have been approached by nurses looking to move in to general practice but seem so wary, I have always said that there is no other role I would rather do and I mean it. The autonomy at first can be daunting and there is a lot to get your head around, but it is such a rewarding and varied role. The only point I would add is to make sure it is the right practice and that you have access to a supportive team.