Suzanne Beaty tells us why she wants to equip nurses with high-quality clinical skills
Suzanne Beaty’s passion for education has been evident throughout her almost 15 years as a school nurse. Now she’s channelling that passion into a new project: a nurse training programme in Cumbria aiming to improve clinical skills in areas such as diabetes, pain management and wound care.
Ms Beaty has been involved with the year-long Cumbria Learning and Improvement Collaborative Nursing Skills programme since it began in May 2015, and has played a major role in its success as the clinical skills nurse educator team lead. She has developed the material to support the workshops as well as taking the lead in developing competency frameworks used by nurses after they leave.
The programme works in conjunction with the University of Cumbria to deliver the workshops, which Ms Beaty says allows them to “offer a really good mix of different perspectives – the university perspective and the nurses actually working in practice”.
“The nurses who attend all have different needs, and at the workshops we’re able to tailor delivery to what the demand is on the day and provide the opportunity for nurses to learn from mistakes,”
Nurses from any background can take part in the workshops, which are based on best-practice principles and are continually improving, according to Ms Beaty. They can also be customised for nurses with specific backgrounds.
“The nurses who attend all have different needs, and at the workshops we’re able to tailor delivery to what the demand is on the day and provide the opportunity for nurses to learn from mistakes,” Ms Beaty explains.
After the workshops, the nurses take generic competency frameworks with them and have follow-ups with nurses from the programme, who check on how they’re using the skills they’ve learned.
“As far as we know, this is the first project of its kind where we’ve developed competency frameworks and followed up with attendees,” says Ms Beaty.
“We’re building a network we haven’t had before in Cumbria.”
Ms Beaty has also been working on strengthening relationships between nurses and managers in Cumbria.
“We’re building a network we haven’t had before in Cumbria. We’re going out, meeting nurses and using reflection as a means of learning from mistakes and reflecting on good practice,” she says.
Working with nurses from different backgrounds has been one of Ms Beaty’s personal highlights in the role. “My favourite part has been hearing about lots of positive things nurses are doing,” she says. “We’re all nursing together and understanding one another’s role is powerful. It also helps me with my own role.”
Ms Beaty’s training in public health nursing and sexual health nursing contributes to her passion for working with the younger generation to improve their sex education.
“I’d like to see more of an investment in school nursing, because if you don’t start with young people a lot of the work we’re doing is just fire fighting”
“It’s about providing access to services and early intervention. We’re reducing problems around sexual health and making sure young people have access.”
Teaching and education are very important to her so school nursing is ideal.
“I’d like to see more of an investment in school nursing, because if you don’t start with young people a lot of the work we’re doing is just fire fighting. I hope people start recognising the potential of the role.”
The accomplishments Ms Beaty has achieved as the clinical skills nurse educator are undeniable. The programme, paid for with £500,000 from Health Education North West’s Forerunner Fund, has been
so successful that it has been awarded more funding to embed the project and focus on unqualified staff.
Ms Beaty says its success lies in collaborative working, which is vital: “Nurses can come together and it doesn’t matter where you come from. We value learning together. By learning together we can deliver better care.”