Real-life story - Jason Warriner
Jason finished his nurse training with a Diploma in Higher Education in nursing studies, and then completed a BSc in healthcare studies. He is now in his third role as a director in the charity sector.
How I got into the role
I wanted to be a nurse from a young age and started my nurse training in 1990. I started working in cardiac nursing, but HIV was an area that caught my interest because it didn't just focus on the medical side of things: working in this area is about holistic (all-round) care - social, psychological and emotional. I therefore moved into HIV and sexual health. Since the specialty is only just over 30 years old, we are still learning about the virus, HIV and ageing, and research.
I finished my nurse training with a Diploma in Higher Education in nursing studies,* and then completed a BSc in healthcare studies. Over the years, I have undertaken a teaching and assessing in clinical practice course and courses in HIV, sexual health and contraception. These are the courses specific to my area of public health nursing. To widen my knowledge and skills, I studied for a postgraduate diploma in the education, training and development of adults and a postgraduate diploma in management. I also gained clinical experience and expertise in the both the NHS and charity sector. By undertaking a wide range of academic courses, I feel that I have gained a broader knowledge base and skill set to work at director level. I am now on my third director job in the charity sector.
(* Nursing diplomas are no longer available. You now need to take an approved degree in nursing.)
What I do
I am the Clinical Services Director for the Sussex Beacon, a community-based HIV charity that I started in July 2015.
People living with HIV benefit from my work - these could be people who are newly diagnosed with HIV, people experiencing mental health and emotional problems, people ageing with HIV and living with comorbidities, drug and alcohol problems or requiring end of life care. My weeks are very varied but involve weekly meetings with hospital and community teams, writing policies, working closely with the chief executive, and writing articles for professional journals.
Some of my main activities and responsibilities include:
- being accountable for the day-to-day delivery of clinical standards of care in accordance with agreed objectives, targets, quality standards, controls and resource constraints
- providing leadership and management of clinical services
- developing the nursing workforce
- taking responsibility for managing the organisation when the CEO is absent
I am also:
- a registered manager for the Care Quality Commission
- accountable officer for the management of controlled drugs
- a Caldicott guardian (responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient information)
- director of infection control and prevention
- the lead on organisational safeguarding for adults and children
The best bits and challenges
I enjoy the freedom of working in the charity sector with a range of partner organisations and having a real impact on people's lives. Working in HIV is a challenging area as there are many myths around HIV and associated stigma. Being able to challenge the stigma and myths surrounding HIV is important for me - many people do not know that HIV is a growing health condition in the UK.
Working in the charity sector always means there are challenges in relation to funding, and balancing this out with service delivery is probably the biggest challenge I face. My biggest achievement is gaining expert knowledge and skills in caring for people living with HIV.
Life outside work
My interests are cycling and reading. I am a trustee of Crisis, the national charity for single, homeless people, and I volunteer as the healthcare manager for Crisis at Christmas. I am also chair of the Royal College of Nursing Public Health Forum.
Career plans and top tips for others
In the future, I am seriously considering a chief executive role in a health or public health charity. Later this year I will be commencing an MA in healthcare practice.
As a top tip, I'd suggest thinking about working outside the NHS - there are a huge number of opportunities to gain new knowledge, skills and experience. Also, undertake a wide range of courses to challenge yourself and learn new things.