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School nurse and 'rising star' authors book on helping children express emotions

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A 2017 Nursing Times Awards winner is the brains behind an innovative children’s book that teaches readers how to express their emotions through the antics of a bad-tempered badger.

The illustrated book – titled Angry, ANGRY Angus – was written by Katrina Sealey while working in her first graduate role as a school nurse.

“Children really know how being angry feels but they’re not given the opportunity to explore how it affects them”

Katrina Sealey

It aims to help children find the right words to express their emotions appropriately from an early age, explained Ms Sealey, who won the Nursing Times Awards Rising Star category last year.

“I’ve found that teenagers often struggle to tell you how they are feeling and are quick to associate it with something that is wrong – using words like stress, depression or anxiety,” she said.

“It’s almost like they don’t have that sophisticated language that you need to be able to say, ‘when you do this, it makes me feel like this’,” she noted.

During the course of the book, Angus’s family and friends show him how to listen to those around him and talk about what he is feeling. He also learns he can help his friends feel less angry by listening and talking to them.

“She is an exceptionally hard worker and a real inspiration to her peers”

Susan Strong

Ms Sealey said the book had prompted an encouraging response from young children who attended readings at local libraries.

“I asked them to draw a couple of pictures afterwards of a person who is happy and a person who is angry, and when one girl drew the angry person it had spiky, stick fingers,” she said.

“I asked her about it and she said her fingers go spiky when she feels angry,” she said. “It was so insightful, because even at a young age children really know how being angry feels but they’re not given the opportunity to explore how it affects them personally.”

Ms Sealey graduated with a degree in adult nursing in 2015 from the Faculty of Health, Social care and Education run jointly by Kingston University and St George’s, University of London. The book is her latest achievement in her career so far.

She achieved her band 6 nursing qualification in just two years and managed to fit in studying for a master’s degree in Specialist Community Public Health Nursing while working for a social enterprise that provides children’s and family services across Surrey.

She has also carried out research, including a pilot study on the uptake of vaccines in schools and a literature review around asthma care.

Her outstanding contribution to the NHS to date was recognised with our Rising Star award, which is given to a nurse who has been qualified for less than five years but has already made an impact.

Kingston University

Nurse writes book on helping children express emotions

Kingston University nursing graduate Katrina Sealey reading her book at a nursery

Judges were impressed with her creativity when it came to innovating and re-shaping the public health field she works in, and ability to inspire and motivate others. She said passion and commitment were at the very heart of nursing.

“I think one thing that really stands out about nursing is that to do the job, you have to be dedicated and passionate about it,” she said. “I think finding something that you really care about is key to identifying the area of nursing that is right for you.”

She is hoping to continue her work on emotional literacy in young children, with the aim of embedding it into the Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum in schools.

Susan Strong, senior lecturer in nursing at the faculty, who nominated her former student for the Rising Star award, said she was not surprised by the fact Ms Sealey had already made a positive impact in nursing.

“Even as a student, Katrina always displayed great leadership skills. She is an exceptionally hard worker and a real inspiration to her peers,” she said.

She added: “The Rising Star award is well-deserved and great recognition for her dedication to nursing, which is shown through her commitment to practice and academic publications, as well as writing a children’s book – all so very early on in her career. We are incredibly proud of her.”

 

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