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'Be open to new ways of thinking'

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We talk to Jo Fearn, head of nursing for children’s and neonatal services at West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust, based at Watford General Hospital

jo fearn

jo fearn

Where do you work?

I work for the best trust at West Herts. It’s friendly, we have great nurses and we all support each other to do the best we can.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Knowing that my team and I make a difference every day. I want to continue to support my team in giving everyone who needs us the best care possible.

What advice would you give someone starting out?

Enjoy all the varied experiences nursing offers you – be open to new ways of thinking. Ask questions and continually challenge yourself!

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?

The team around me all striving to improve services for the children and families in our care.

What has been your proudest working moment?

We have a great working culture in our team, which was recently recognised at our last Care Quality Commission inspection. Our rating for children’s and young people’s services received a “good” rating, with an “outstanding” rating for caring in our team.

There’s still so much we want to get better at and it’s been great to see the response of our team in wanting to make continual improvements

What next after receiving such a positive outcome in your team?

I need to continue acting as a role model to my team and lead them forward, as we continue on our improvement journey. We’re also trying to improve our cross-working with other teams, so we provide a better service. There’s still so much we want to get better at and it’s been great to see the response of our team in wanting to make continual improvements.

How do you motivate your team?

Leading by example – it’s important that I’m credible and visible. I also ensure that I acknowledge, congratulate and celebrate successes.

What is likely to change nursing in the next decade?

With the proposed changes to funding for nurse training, I am excited by opportunities that might arise through the development of more advanced nursing roles, with greater autonomy in practice.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a nurse?

I started off as a secretary, but if I hadn’t become a nurse I would have wanted to work in some kind of role that involved working with people.

What is the trait you least like in yourself and why?

I do like to talk a lot, but have been trying to improve my listening skills!

What do you think makes a good nurse?

Genuine empathy. To see the whole picture. To be caring and compassionate. Having the ability to see things through. To cope with the unexpected. Oh, and definitely having a sense of humour!

What would your ideal weekend involve?

Lots of sunshine. Friends and family together. Socialising – and a large gin and tonic.


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