Nurses’ Day 2018: Recognising nurses in primary care

Maxine Copson, the first nurse in Norfolk to become a GP partner.For: Sarah Brealey

Maxine Copson, the first nurse in Norfolk to become a GP partner.For: Sarah Brealey

Maxine Copson did not want to be a nurse at first, but after a friend's mother wanted to go into the profession she decided to apply.

Maxine, 55, has now been a nurse for 37 years and was given the prestigious honour of being made a Queens Nurse.

Now a nurse practitioner partner at St Stephen's Gate surgery in Norwich - the first nurse to be made a partner in Norfolk - she has a particular interest in coronary heart disease and the respiratory specialism.

She said: 'I really enjoy making a difference to patient's lives and pushing the boundaries to add skills and scope to the nursing profession. I love the fact that one can become involved at a variety of levels including up to making policy decisions.

'Nurses are no longer doctor's hand maidens. They are skilled professionals in their own right. Recruitment difficulties have meant that opportunities have opened up and been taken by nurses. Non-medical prescribing has made the biggest difference to my work.'

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She said there were challenges in the role, such as some patients believing only doctors could do certain things.

'But that perception is changing day by day,' she said.

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'And once they have seen a nurse at our practice they are amazed and ask to see us again.

'Nursing is constantly evolving and it is a privilege to be involved in patients' lives especially in primary care where often one knows the whole family and we are involved from the cradle to the grave.

'I have been fortunate to be able to become a partner in the practice. This means I have a vote on the board and a say in the decisions we make as a practice. This enables me to shape the services we provide to patients and I am able to represent the nursing perspective.

'Becoming a Queens Nurse means I have made a commitment to continue to promote nursing as a career and to improve patient services whenever I am able.'

Sarah Ambrose also works in primary care as lead nurse at OneNorwich and Norwich Practices' Health Centre

She said: 'Nurses are hugely important to the delivery of health care. There are more nurses working in the field than any other healthcare professional, undertaking a wide number roles in various settings including hospitals, the community and general practice.

'They are literally the back bone of the NHS, striving to deliver the best possible care in an ever changing system. It is entirely appropriate that the profession is recognised and celebrated on this day.'

Clare Thompson, 45, also works with OneNorwich.

She is an advanced nurse practitioner currently working in the home visiting service.

She said: 'I have always wanted to be a nurse from a young age, trained at the old N&N hospital from 1991 until 1994 so I've been a registered nurse for 23 years.

'I was lucky enough to complete the old-style training of part classroom-based and part ward-based.

'A large part of student nurse training is learning from mentors and I still remember most of them fondly to this day. Later on in my career I have tried to be a good mentor myself to students, passing on practical tips and skills to enhance their classroom learning.'

Clare thought her passion for nursing came from when her father was sick.

She said: 'My father became ill with cancer when I was just 15 and I developed such respect and admiration for the Macmillan nurses who helped us at that time, that is probably why I wanted to become a nurse.

'Throughout my career I have worked in general surgery and intensive care. The best part is seeing patients recover after a long illness and leaving the hospital with their family. Of course there are sad times too when patients are dying and I have always felt privileged to be a part of that most intensely personal family time.'

She added: 'I would encourage others to enter the profession if they feel they are kind, caring and considerate with a tough streak too. The training itself is very rigorous and will soon give the student an idea of whether nursing is for them.

'The benefits include a great support network and life long friends with a decent pension, the downsides perhaps are the long shifts including night shifts, working over bank holidays, Christmas and learning to deal with the loss of patients you may have nursed for a long time. I wouldn't change it for the world.'

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