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Senior Nurse Practitioner shows undeniable strength, as she cared for patients while completing Apprenticeship

Senior Nurse Practitioner, Ellie Walker
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Ellie Walker, from Sheerness, had always wanted to be a Children’s Nurse as soon as it was explained to her as a child what that meant. Now, working at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust as a Senior Nurse Practitioner, she is the longest standing member of staff after 18 years there, and has since completed a Higher Apprenticeship (Operations Department Manager) with L5 Diploma for Leaders and Managers Diploma.

Born in the late 60s, Ellie remembers visiting her nan’s friends wearing a nurse’s uniform with a white hat that had a red cross on and carrying a box of tools, as a preschool child. From there, her desire to help others just continued to grow. In 1986, Ellie applied to be a Student Nurse with the Maidstone Health Authority, as it was called back then. Shortly after, she was offered the position and finally saw her dreams become a reality, right before her eyes. Having been with the NHS ever since, as a dual qualified general, Paediatric Nurse and Senior Nurse Practitioner, she has no regrets in following a path she feels she was destined to fulfil.

Ellie was keen to learn at work and in March 2019, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust were offering Apprenticeships with leading national Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider, Qube Learning, as another dimension to their staff development. Ellie did not think that a degree would be achievable with her work commitments and looking after her autistic daughter at home, so jumped at this opportunity.

Working three to four days a week as a Senior Nurse Practitioner at a Minor Injuries Unit (MIU), Ellie is extremely busy from the minute she arrives, to the time she leaves. Her day consists of looking after patients and other clinical day-to-day operational activities, or training and studying. She is extremely passionate about the quality of care and is very proud that her work as an Apprentice was recognised with the Highly Commended award in the 2020 Qube Higher Apprentice of the Year category.

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Ellie says: ‘Time has made me interested in the bigger picture and I would like to eventually step away from direct patient care, to a more strategic or corporate role in improvement or quality, to see positive steps made on a continuous basis. Being able to prove to my managers that I can do more than my current position, has installed confidence in all areas of my life. I have brought about change, managed a project, performance managed a small team, created a system out of disorder, and written documents that I had previously not been given the authority to do, and see these as great achievements.

‘If someone asked me about professional and personal progression, I would say try an Apprenticeship and go for it. Absolutely go for it. If work is challenging, you are doing it right. It is not meant to be easy, but it will be worth it, and if you have a great training provider, like Qube Learning, you will feel supported and encouraged, throughout. Have your eyes opened and be given the wings to fly into a new chapter of your life.’

Ellie has also been a staff flu vaccinator, ran the trust’s MIU display at the Kent County Show, visited schools and community groups to raise the profile of MIU and played MIU scenes out with children, decorated the department for the patients’ and staff’s benefit with murals, and generally assists her Clinical Team Leader with anything that is delegated to her. With the support of her Employer and family and friends, she believes she can do anything and is excited to see what is to come.

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