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Spotlight on Head of Nursing

Joanne Strain is Head of Nursing at Four Seasons Health Care

I began my career as a nurse with Four Seasons Health Care in 1999. I had done my training as a mature student. I first worked in a FSHC care home about 25 years ago after having my four children and then I moved to a nursing auxiliary position with a local Trust.

I decided I wanted to fulfil my dream of being a nurse and I went about gaining the 5 GCSE’s I needed to get into nursing college/university. Just before I started nursing school, I was one of ten people in NI to complete what was then the very new NVQ in direct care.

My desire was not to work in a hospital but in a care home – my career to date was working with mainly older people – even during my nurse training, I preferred medical wards to other wards because of the high percentage of older people needing care.

I started working as a staff nurse and within a year I was a sister/deputy manager. During this time I completed my degree and I then moved in 2001 to be a home manager. During this time I opened a small very successful dementia residential unit within the large home. This was in the days when we were just beginning to understand that we needed to rethink the way we managed dementia care.

In 2004 I became a regional manager and had 14 homes in my portfolio. As the need for good dementia care intensified, we opened more dementia units across the region and even extended a learning disability unit providing very specific care according to need.

My passion for elderly people and dementia care led me to undertake a post graduate diploma in dementia studies at Stirling University.

In 2012, I was fortunate to become Head of Nursing, Care Standards and Quality in NI. During these years myself and my team set up many pro-active initiatives including a training centre where we successfully helped many nurses update their clinical skills. Some of the pro-active training such as G-Tube replacement and complex tracheostomy care meant that residents did not need to go to hospital – it is my vision for the coming year to implement clinical training sites across the MD regions to enable our nurses to be up-skilled and confident leaders.

I took up the post of Head of Nursing (UK) at the beginning of 2016. I have continued my passion for learning and one of the areas I wanted to review was adult safeguarding. I have now completed a post graduate diploma in Adult Safeguarding and am now in my MA year.

I have been really impressed by the standard of care and leadership of our nurses across the UK and believe we can build on that. I am confident that FSHC are leaders in care and that nurses are absolutely central to continuing to lead across the sector.

Of course I have to mention all the great things we hope to accomplish this year which will help our nurses such as the nurses forum, face book as well as a brand new nurse specific Twitter site where we will not only continue to ‘tweet’ news but we will hold Twitter Chats as guided by your needs.

We will involve nurses more in various projects going forward. I believe we are leaders in this field and no other providers come close to the nurse communication strategy that FSHC has planned this year. My vision for our 3000 nurses is to have nurses who believe that we are all leaders and will continually strive to provide the best care possible for our residents.

Date published: 15 September 2017

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