Real-life story - Jenny Aston
Jenny works as a general practice nurse and one of the things she appreciates about her role is the variety of training opportunities that are available to her.
How I got into the role/scheme/apprenticeship?
After training as a nurse, I spent some time working in oncology and orthopaedics then later I started doing some clinical teaching. I did this for a while and after my children started nursery, I was keen to get back into a hands-on nursing role. I was offered a job-share position as a general practise nurse and loved it! It allowed me the flexibility to juggle my home and work life. I then decided to train as a nurse practitioner and was offered a lot of support which helped me to develop my skills and build my confidence.
What I do
Two days a week, I work as part of our rapid access team and we see patients with acute illnesses. We see a mixture of things including serious conditions which need to be referred to the hospital. We also see patients with mild illnesses and injuries ranging from a cough to ear infections. I also have my own clinic so when I’m not working as part of the rapid team; I am managing patients with complex long term conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.
On an ad hoc basis, I also take on other jobs and these jobs range from assessing and examining to training staff and prescribing.
The best bits and challenges
One of the best things about working as a general practice nurse is that you get to see all the aspects of a patient’s journey. As we support patients through their illnesses, we also get to know and understand them. This enables us to build good patient-nurse relationships and helps us tailor the care we provide to each individual.
I also enjoy working as part of a multi-disciplinary team where we are all valued for our contribution. Working as part of a team also allows us to support each other to deliver the very best care that we can.
There are also lots of opportunities for training and developing your career in general practice. These opportunities range from developing managerial skills to participating in research projects.
Career plans and top tips for others
I love my role and am not looking to change jobs until I retire, which will be in five years’ time. Before my retirement, I would like to continue to develop the teaching elements of my role. I aim to continue my national and local advisory roles to continue to raise the profile of primary care nursing.
Life outside work
I am very fortunate to have a job that I enjoy but it is still important to have a good work-life balance and to make time for my hobbies. In my spare time, I enjoy gardening, swimming, skiing, dog walking as well as being actively involved in my local church.