On being asked to write a blog on what impact the award has had well… the first thought that came to my mind was the invaluable recognition from peers.
General practice nursing is unique: roles and scope of practice vary and although practice nursing is the most rewarding clinical area that I have ever experienced, the downside is that it can also be an isolating and lonely area to work in and professionally develop. For example, I am the only respiratory nurse in the practice and have very limited opportunities to share ideas and network amongst like-minded enthusiastic practice nurse colleagues!
I experienced long winded and at times torturous experiences throughout my professional doctorate which has, in fact, taken almost three years longer to complete than originally planned. At times, I questioned whether my research project, which centred on researching the barriers to accurate spirometry assessment and interpretation for the chronic disease management of COPD, was really worth it and whether or not it would have been easier to throw the towel in and look for other opportunities to develop my remit within general practice nursing.
When the awards were announced, I applied as ARNS had supported me with a bursary towards my course fees and I wanted to give something back to demonstrate that I had used the generous bursary to continue with my studies. I was overwhelmed when I was informed that I had been shortlisted for the award, and was given a much needed boost in the fact that my application had been read and considered worthy for shortlisting by peers.
Being shortlisted was a turning point and gave me the motivation to continue with my research. It’s subsequently difficult to describe just how much it meant to me on winning the award. Having worked as an isolated practitioner for so many years, and being one of few general practice nurses in Wales who have a keen respiratory interest, the feeling that my peers considered my research worthy, of interest to others, and relevant in furthering knowledge in the chronic disease management of COPD was brilliant. I am passionate in the care of patients with COPD and to have my research publically acknowledged by peers made me realise that I could effect change in the long term management of COPD services within general practice.
Since winning the award, my increased confidence in clinical practice has continued. I have a raised profile locally and contribute to the local improvement of respiratory services by participating and teaching within local respiratory groups. I am preparing to publish my research findings and am planning on cascading the findings throughout the locality and Wales; my long term aim being to improve spirometry within general practice and in the long term improve the chronic disease management of patients with COPD. I feel my profile has also been raised within ARNS and I am keen to continue supporting the association and representing the voice of general practice nurses in the future.
Winner – ARNS Respiratory Rising Star 2015