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. I have also volunteered as a nurse for a homeless charity for 18 years which has given me an understanding of homeless health.
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 both the NHS and charity sector. By undertaking a wide range of academic courses and leadership roles, I feel that I have gained a broader knowledge base and skill set to work at director level. I am now in my fourth 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 director of care, quality and governance for Cranstoun, a drug and alcohol charity.
The role has many aspects with the key focus on delivering safe and high-quality services within the charity. My weeks are very varied but involve writing policies, supporting operations directors and service managers, regulatory compliance, contributing to new business, and visiting services to provide support and advice.
My main activities and responsibilities include:
- providing leadership for and management of the quality team
- developing governance and quality systems within the organisation
- effectively undertaking my role as a member of the senior management team
I am also:
- the Nominated Individual for the Care Quality Commission
- a Caldicott guardian (responsible for protecting the confidentiality of patient information)
- 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 the specialties of HIV, drugs and alcohol enables you to challenge stigma and make a real difference.
Working in the charity sector always means there are challenges in relation to funding, and balancing this out with high-quality service delivery is probably the biggest challenge. Public health funding is where investment is needed to keep people healthy and well.
Life outside work
My interests are cycling and reading. I am a trustee of Crisis, the national charity for 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, alongside studying to ensure I remain up to date and develop my skills.
There are a huge number of opportunities to gain new knowledge, skills and experience, so my top tip is to think about working outside the NHS. Also, undertake a wide range of courses to challenge yourself and learn new things.