Continuing our year-long campaign to recognise our nursing staff, this month Jody Crawford tells us about why she took up nursing, where her career has taken her and how it informs her current role within Scotland’s National Contact Tracing Centre.
I started my degree in Nursing in 2007 after supporting a friend through a mental health crisis. I initially applied as a Mental Health Nurse but quickly discovered that I absolutely loved working with older people in an Adult Nursing role. I completed my training with UWS in Dumfries.
My first job as a qualified nurse was in the Caribbean. I had graduated in November and moved to Barbados just weeks later to be with my future husband. Working as a newly qualified nurse 4000 miles from home, and within a completely different healthcare setting was a huge challenge. Asking visitors and patients to leave their firearms at the nurse’s station was one thing that took me a long time to get used to.
When I returned to the UK I was a Bank Staff Nurse working with the Community Nursing Team on the islands of Islay and Jura where I still live. I was also an Out of Hours Nurse covering the weekends without GP cover on Jura and trained as a first responder. The role of Out of Hours Nurse included responding to 999 calls, administering life-saving interventions or pain relief to patients whilst awaiting ambulance or helicopter response. It also involved responding to 111 calls, where patients could be babies with a fever to older adults who needed support with end of life care. The variety of the job is incredible and my passion for community nursing and supporting people to manage their own long term conditions at home is something that will never diminish.
I joined NSS this year as a Team Lead within the National Contact Tracing Centre. My primary focus is on the transition of new Contact Tracers from training into the live environment, while also leading my own team of up to 12 contact tracers. Although a departure from nursing, the skills nursing has taught me, such as leadership, working as a team, putting people at ease and being able to talk about personal circumstances have been immensely valuable. The job really suits me, I have flexible shifts and obviously work from home like many in NSS, but I really enjoy the team spirit even though I have never actually met any of my colleagues in person.
I enjoy talking to people, and finding out about who they are. As a nurse and also as a Contact Tracing Team Lead, the focus is on the individual and how we can support them through a difficult time in their lives.
If you’re considering nursing as a career, I’d say do it! It is hard work, you may find yourself in challenging circumstances, but if you have empathy and an open mind you will be perfect for the role. Nursing is a profession which can offer many avenues, and if you love learning then it’s the profession for you! It is the most worth-while job I have ever had.