Professional Nurse Advocate Lead and Project Nurse, Chris Down, talks about his experience as a Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) and how they can support others at UHP.
“I started my journey as a Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) when I was a Clinical Educator for Stonehouse, Wolf and SAU. It was advertised as an opportunity to be trained to implement the AEQUIP model.
The AEQUIP model stands for Advocating for Education and QUality ImProvement. I thought this would help me develop as an educator and I was signed up for the 20 credit master’s module which was funded by NHS England.
All the teaching sessions were done via Microsoft Teams, and I studied with University West of England (UWE) in September 2021. The module was not what I expected, and instead it was about embedding restorative clinical supervision (RCS) into your area.
The course explored how RCS would have a positive impact on the development of staff, and how this would lead to an improvement in patient care. It also looked at having a holistic approach to supporting staff, understanding that clinical supervision should allow space for staff to talk about any problems they are having including outside of work.
Clinical supervision is something that I had heard of before but had not had any training on this and had not experienced it before. During my time as a PNA student, I started to offer and run RCS sessions. I was amazed with the positive affect it was having on the staff I was running sessions for. I have supported a lot of staff during my time as clinical educator and junior charge nurse but have never been thanked as much by staff after running an RCS session. Luckly, I worked with a great management team in surgery, and we were slowly able to implement the PNA role as well.
After trialling some different methods (over MS Teams, before and after work) we decided to link the RCS sessions in with mandatory training. When booking out a space for mandatory training each month there is now also a PNA present for staff who would like an RCS session.
I was then very fortunate to be given the opportunity to become the PNA Lead for UHP. During my time as lead I have been able to work closely with our qualified PNAs as well as support our training PNAs. I am really excited with how PNAs will be able to support nurses in the near future.
It is also great that UHP has supported the roll out of the AEQUIP model by funding Allied Health Professionals to join the program alongside the midwifes and nurses. The Professional Advocates (PA), who can be midwifes, nurses or allied health professionals, have been able to support the roll out of several important projects to help support professionals including supporting the roll out of Rate My Shift and Itchy Feet as well as wellbeing days for new internationally educated nurses.
The wellbeing days are made up of 3 parts:
- 1 session with a PA
- 1 session with a Legacy Mentor
- 1 reflective session with Sacha from the Trust Chaplain team
The day is also supported by EDI, RCN and Freedom to Speak Up.
Currently, we have only run one session but was very well received and we look forward to running them every month.
If anyone members of staff are interested in having a restorative clinical supervision session or want to know more about becoming a Professional Advocate please email me at Christopherdown@nhs.net.”