Rose Naylor left large city trusts for some unusual opportunities on Jersey
No man is an island, said English poet John Donne - and Jersey’s chief nurse certainly isn’t.
Rose Naylor says working in the southernmost channel island can be fairly isolating. So she maintains her links with colleagues in England and other islands, such as the Isle of Man, Gibraltar and Guernsey.
Ms Naylor not only acts as the professional lead for the 1,000 nurses and midwives registered in Jersey but is also the chief nursing adviser to the States of Jersey, the island’s government.
She works alongside the heads of nursing for the operational services to ensure good standards of care. Her office is on the same floor as the minister for health and social services, and her close working relationship with the minister means matters affecting nursing get political attention.
“Having worked in England, mainly in London and the North West, I have maintained my contacts with colleagues in the NHS.
“This is an important link for the island as we need to keep pace with the issues and developments affecting nurses and midwives and healthcare elsewhere.
“I have very close links with the chief nurses in the other islands and we meet on an annual basis to share practice and discuss the challenges we face.”
Challenges include the recruitment of experienced staff. “Attracting staff to work here is difficult, despite Jersey being a great place to live. For the past two years, we have struggled. This is in the main because experienced nurses and midwives tend to have families and are reluctant to move to a new country for a number of reasons.
“Working with the Open University, we train nurses on the island, which is fantastic as it means we are able to maximise local talent and skills from within the indigenous population who would otherwise be lost to the profession as their personal circumstances make it impossible for them to train off island.
“However, this will never replace the need to attract specialist and experienced nurses from elsewhere.”
Ms Naylor is an advocate of island life, with its sense of family and belonging. She adds that it offers chances to develop unusual skills.
“There are opportunities to experience something different,” she says. “Where else, for example, would nurses be involved in in-flight transfers? Caring for patients in the air is a unique experience and requires some very special skills.
“Nurses also say that they have more opportunity here to provide direct patient care.
“There is enormous respect for nurses in Jersey and the closeness between nurses and the community, - including the political leaders - means that nurses and midwives have a greater ability to directly influence care.”
Ms Naylor trained in the 1980s in London, working in primary and acute care at the Royal London Hospital before moving to the North West. She specialised in maxillofacial nursing at Aintree, before moving into clinical governance at two large acute foundation trusts.
Ms Naylor and her family moved to Jersey in 2005. She was appointed head of governance at the Health and Social Services Department and became director of nursing in June 2006.
“It is a fantastic job,” she says. “I work across a wide range of care settings, from paediatrics to mental health, critical care, elderly care and learning disability. There is something for everyone.
“Most of all, the real pleasure comes from the inspirational and motivated nurses and midwives who give so much of themselves to provide care to the people of Jersey.”