Perceptions of Nursing and Midwifery

'An independent nurse.. how does that work?' by Joanne Loades RN

Sounds odd, but in reality I’m doing same kind of work I’ve done for years – just in a different way.  My 15 year career in the NHS began in critical care and ended up in a managers chair, via cardiac specialist nursing and Primary Care.  During this time I developed a passion for education and was to become a trainer, and later Clinical Lead, for Education for Health. I became increasingly involved in professional societies within cardiology where I loved having the opportunity to get involved with national projects, and work with others who wanted to make a difference in the world of cardiovascular disease.  

In my 'day job' I was a Service Manager for a large community provider and was becoming increasingly disillusioned.  There was increasing pressure from above to deliver savings and I was the conduit to the front line teams.  I found during that time that management was just not for me... But how do you go back to being a ‘proper nurse’. I thought I would find out during my notice period for the job I didn’t enjoy, but have never been employed since. I was offered some project work locally, still NHS, and along with my training and professional interests I soon found myself busy and managing to pay the mortgage. Eight years later, despite many ups and downs, I'm still here.

So, what are the pros? Well, back to making a difference… I’ve delivered training and education to thousands of healthcare professionals throughout the UK and beyond, undertaken research, been involved in policy development, led service redesign and have had many publications.  The reach of my work is pretty broad and I hope this has made a difference to patients and the wider population. I can say "no" if something doesn’t feel right, and can say "yes" without asking permission. The paid work I do gives me enough flexibility for unpaid work that I feel is important, be it chairing professional working groups or giving talks to the local WI!

The cons?  Well, you can’t really separate life and work. You can’t sit back and assume the work will still come, and there is no guaranteed pay day.  You have to keep up with the invoices, and hope they get paid on time.  I’m still waiting on payment for some work I did in November last year!  The taxman is always around the corner so you have to be prepared, not always easy at quieter times – or when invoices haven’t been paid.

Would I change it?  Definitely no.  I love our NHS and admire all who keep it going on a daily basis and do feel I still play my part.  When people ask my Dad what I do he proudly replies ‘she’s a nurse’… and that’s what I am, and always plan to be….though perhaps slightly unconventionally.

Joanne Loades RN



What inspired you to write this blog?

I was inspired to write this blog as part of the Future Nursing 30 Day Challenge for July.  I wanted to share my story to show that nurses come in many forms (and shapes and sizes!) but are still nurses!  My decision to enter nurse training, some 25 years ago, was the start of this incredible journey and it ain't over yet!

What is your role?

Independent Nurse Consultant & Specialist in Cardiovascular Disease

Nursing Associate at The National Association of Primary Care

edited on Jul 23, 2018 by Bev Matthews
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