Real-life story - Sharin Baldwin
Sharin enjoyed her midwifery roles in both hospital and community settings but had always been interested in public health and was keen to focus on prevention rather than treatment, which led her to a career in health visiting.
I grew up wanting to be a doctor but didn’t get the necessary A level grades. Nursing was the obvious next option, partly influenced by my mother who was also a nurse.
I qualified as an adult nurse and then studied a BSc in midwifery. I’d really enjoyed my midwifery placement during my training but wanted to focus on prevention rather than treatment and to develop academically too. I studied a postgraduate diploma in health visiting and then worked as a health visitor in Hackney for three years before being appointed modern matron. In that role, I was responsible for providing both operational management and professional leadership to a health visiting and school nursing team, and for managing budgets and development of services.
I continued my education and completed an MSc in community health in 2005 followed by two years of a doctorate in healthcare. My research interest is mental health and fathers’ welfare, an area that is often neglected.
In May 2009 I was proud to be awarded the Queen’s Nurse title by the Queen’s Institute, an award that recognises a commitment to high standards of patient care and continually improving practice. It means I’m part of a nursing community where I can share knowledge and skills and learn from others while being involved in and contributing to national policy making.
I’m a keen advocate for health visiting and my work is very varied. For example, one day I’ll be carrying out health reviews for children and the next planning the future direction of the health visiting service or writing clinical guidance and policies.
The best part of my job is working across the local authority and health service to make positive improvements to services for the community we serve.