@WeSchoolNurses is a Twitter chat held every 2 weeks, aimed at School Nurses and those that regularly support and care for children of school age on Tuesdays at 8pm on Twitter using #WeScNs.
The volunteers supporting the @WeSchoolNurses range both in terms of social media and nursing experience.
About the chat coordinators:
Heidi Ferrier–Hixon qualified as a paediatric nurse in 2003 and worked in a general paediatric unit as well as working for a period of time within the children’s hospice environment.
In 2005 Heidi was given the opportunity to take on her first role as a School Nurse in North Bristol which lead to the opportunity of moving on to a school nursing role in Bath.
In 2010 Heidi relocated to the West Midlands and initially worked as a school nurse within the developing Vulnerable Childrens Team within Sandwell taking on the role of leading the team in 2011. Sandwell's Vulnerable childrens team has continued to develop and strives to ensure school nursing services are offered to all young people across Sandwell regardless of educational provision inclusive of young people attending PRU's, electively home educated young people, children missing from education, gypsy travelling families and new to UK families.
In 2013 Heidi was nominated for an award for the development and launch of the Sandwell School Nurse Ambassadors Programme which continues to develop across the authority.
Heidi remains an active advocate for the School Nurse Champions for Young Carers Project supporting the attendance of School Nurses at the annual Young Carers Festival.
Jo France – Jo started her career on the wards in 1995 before moving into school nursing in 2004. From starting as a School Staff Nurse she undertook the specialist practice course to become a qualified School Nurse then Practice Teacher. Jo is now proud to be the School Nurse Team Manager and Professional Lead for her dedicated team in Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust. Jo is passionate about supporting the unique health needs of our younger generation by fostering an innovative and creative team approach. Becoming a Queen's Nurse has recognised her dedication and commitment to quality nursing care. A mum to twin teenage girls also keeps Jo very busy too. Jo's a regular Tweeter and enjoys using this very valuable method of communication for networking and positive support.
Michelle Sobande - Michelle notched up over a decade of experience in acute adult and paediatric nursing before discovering the unique role of the modern School Nurse. Over the past 12 years Michelle has worked in a variety of roles within Health Visiting and School Nursing across Scotland and North East England and chose to specialise in School Nursing due to the specialist opportunities associated with improving health outcomes for Children and Young People. Michelle has recently returned to practice after 3 years of leading the School Nursing curriculum full time at Teesside University and currently holds two part time posts spanning practice (School Nursing) and Senior Lecturer (SCPHN - Teesside Uni). Michelle considers herself to be an advocate for School Nursing and is passionate about the potential of this important service. Other areas of interest include technology, Social media and engaging with Young People as these factors are all currently the focus of an Msc in leadership.
Wendy Nicolson - Department of Health, Professional Officer School and Community Nursing RN Adult, RN Child, RNT, Dip Nursing, BsC (Hons) Nursing, MA Child Law
Currently part of the Director of Nursing’s Public Health Nursing Directorate at the Department of Health. Previous experience includes; Professional adviser to Department of Health - Quality Standards for young people’s health services, this included setting up the initial You’re Welcome regional pilots and Regional Government Office/SHA Policy Lead for Teenage Pregnancy, Young People's Sexual Health and Young People's Health Services.
Previous strategic and senior management posts held within health and children’s social care including looked after children, children’s complaints and vulnerable children. Wendy set up one of the first (and largest) Sure Start Trailblazers in England before moving to Wales to work as Children’s Services Planning manager to implement the new Leaving Care Act recommendations and regulations for children’s care homes. Wendy went on to become Head of the Children and Young People’s Strategic Initiatives Unit – leading the implementation of the integrated health and social care planning system for health and social care, supporting the Children’s Commissioners review for whistle blowing and children in need.
Wendy is a registered nurse teacher and worked as Senior Lecturer in Child Health, pre and post-registration education, and set up the first child branch programme in North Wales. She aslo has worked as a Speciality Manager, Paediatric and neonatal intensive care (Westminster Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond St), Staff Nurse, Children's nursing and Adult ITU.
Other experience includes:
- Children's acute care and nurse education, Turin, Italy;
- ECMO and neonatal care, Los Angeles Children's Hospital, USA;
- Exploring young people's health services, Sweden;
- Future European’s - Young people's health, Brussels.
Maggie Clarke - Maggie is a Paediatric Nurse and school nurse SCPHN. She has worked as a school nurse since 2001 and is currently the professional lead for the school nurse teams in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. She is committed to continuing to develop the excellence in the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland school nursing teams and to encourage and innovate new ways of practice to promote the public health agenda for children and young people. Recent projects have included the roll out of the text messaging service to young people 11-19 years across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and introducing a new model of working for the School Nurse teams including the use of social media to enhance our service offer.
Daniel Lucy - Dan commenced his nursing career in 2013; graduating from Glyndwr University with a first class honours degree in adult nursing. During his time as a student nurse he discovered the role of the modern school nurse and subsequently the importance of delivering health services to young people. Due to his ambition of wanting to improve the health and wellbeing of children and young people, Dan completed a Specialist Community Public Health Nursing PgDip in 2014; allowing him to gain registration on part three of the NMC register. Dan is currently working as a Senior School Nurse in Trafford. In his spare time Dan volunteers as an operations manager for St John Ambulance and is in the process of writing MSc dissertation in health sciences.
Annie O’Neill - @AnnieRONeill says "I trained in London at Kings College Hospital and became a registered general nurse many moons ago! Having completed a year as a staff nurse on a speicalist Renal Ward I decided to leave nursing altogether for while and started working within industry. I became the Branch Manager of a recruitment consultancy in central London and worked there until I moved to Suffolk and started a family. I then had various jobs which fitted in with family life including working within schools, I then decided to go back into education. I gained an English and History degree in 2006. At that point I felt that returning to nursing would be a positive step, I completed the course in 2009 and went straight into School Nursing, did the SCPHN in 2013 and have stayed put ever since! At last I’ve found my niche!"
Stephanie Millichope - @pufferfish34 says "I qualified as an adult nurse in 1998 and specialised in ophthalmic nursing. I then worked as a nurse advisor with NHS Directfor 5 years before heading to school nursing. I worked within a primary/secondary foundation school for 5 years as a health advisor before deciding it was time to further my knowledge in public health, completing the SCPHN School Nurse pathway in 2012. I currently work as a SCPHN School Nurse for Kent Community Health Foundation Trust and have particular interests in school nurse service development and utilising technology to reach young people. I enjoy studying and am looking tocomplete my Masters in the next few years! Outside work I have two children, 12 and 14 and am an avid photographer of all things nature / wildlife / the universe plus the odd wedding!!
Paula Lawrenson - Paula says "I have been nursing for 29 years, the last 9 years in School Health. I am a Practice Teacher who is proud to say that I have supported 6 students to successful completion and entry onto the NMC register as a Specialist Practitioner - School Nursing. I have developed a behaviour referral pathway for referrals to local paediatricians and CAMHS services and, a new Request for Support Form, for referrals into the School Health Team to enable appropriate and timely support to be given. I am experienced in identifying the changing role of the school nurse and developing the local school nurse service. I am passionate about listening to children and young people to understand their needs, wants, wishes and dreams."
Karen Alred - Karen says "I originally trained as an EN back in the 1980’s at GOSH, had a number of years away from health so completed a return to nursing programme in 2004.Following working within the hospital environment, I completed the conversion to RN(A) before moving into a community developmental role as a staff nurse for children with disabilities. Through this I completed the SCPHN (SN) PGDip,later completing this to MSc Public Health Nursing. I worked for 6 years within my specialist role for children with disabilities before heading into higher education, where I am currently working on the SCHPN programme for both health visiting and school nursing. This is a new role, requiring completion of the PgC Health Education qualification for NMC Teacher level 4 which I have just embarked. I am passionate about working with children, young people and their families in a preventative and early intervention role and believe that school nurses and health visitors have a significant contribution to make to the public health agenda. I have particular interests in emotional health and well being of children and families, including links to attachment and child development, the relationship between the practitioner and children and their families, empowerment and advocacy and the voice of the child, and improving the evidence base underpinning practice."
Michelle Ireland - Michelle says: I qualified as a children's nurse in 2011 from the University of York (mature student) and commenced employment at Scarborough hospital working within SCBU. Although whilst training as a children's nurse, I completed a community placement and knew this would be something to aspire to in the future. In 2013 I started working for Harrogate and District Foundation Trust (HDFT) as a band 5 school nurse, based in Scarborough. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but enjoyed the new challenge this brought me, so in 2014 I decided to apply to Hull University with the support of HDFT to complete my SCPHN qualification in school nursing.What a challenging year that was, but enjoyable at the same time and this is where I found Twitter and this helped me achieve the qualification with the opportunity to access up to date resources and obtain an amazing depth of knowledge from other professionals, obtaining great links with them too. Now in 2015 I am still working for HDFT but now as a SCPHN in Scarborough. I am now just trying to implement all the knowledge the course gave me within the local team, so exciting times ahead.I live on the Scarborough coast with my husband and 3children, oh and my cat.
Emma Tomkins - Emma says "I qualified as an adult nurse in 1996 and worked in a variety of acute settings before moving to community nursing in 2003. I enjoyed visiting clients in their ownenvironment but still felt that something was missing. It was then that I started talking to theschool nurses in the office next door. Fortunately, school staff nurse posts had just been advertised. I started working as a school staff nurse in 2005 in Wolverhampton and within one week I knew this was the job for me. I particularly enjoyed that no day was the same, it challenged my thinking and way of working and I was able to work with the most wonderful people….children! I still feel as passionate about school nursing now as I did then, but with the added bonus of the theoretical underpinning of my SCPHN which I gained in 2015. I am now a Band 6 School Nurse in Telford with a very busy caseload and currently, my particular areas of interest are NCMP and obesity and school readiness. I am also a busy mum with 3 boys aged 13, 12 and 5 and I am starting to think I need to reset the balance at home with a female pet!"
Coordinators: @WendyJNicholson, @MichelleSobande, @Jo_France, @maggieclarkeC4H, @MrDanielLucy, @HeidiFerrier, @AnnieRONeill, @pufferfish34, @KarenAlred, @waluap, @emmatom37, @MichelleIrelan3
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