Having made the decision to leave the world of academia and return to clinical practice, so many people have asked me what has triggered the move….well, there are many reasons! I’ll try to explain…..
Earlier this year, a close friend passed away and as so often happens following tragedy, I re-evaluated. It made me think about what I was doing and where I really wanted to be. I’ve been a lecturer in children’s nursing since 2007. In that time I’ve learned a lot about nursing, about academia, and of course about me! I’ve been privileged to teach our future nursing workforce, write for publication, speak at conferences, win awards, meet exceptionally talented people, guide students through to qualification and graduation, work creatively and try new things with equally creative people, and work towards a PhD (work is very much still in progress) amongst many other things. I’ve loved seeing our students complete the programme and go on to do great things. All of this though comes at a price. I’ve worked long hours, evenings and countless weekends, and contrary to popular belief, nurse lecturers don’t finish for Summer holidays in May and return in September!
After almost 10 years in the same job, I applied for a senior lecturer post but was unsuccessful. I learned a lot from this experience and began to realise that the prospect of career advancement in academia was not going to come without further cost to my work life balance. My work ethic has always been such that I have continued to work incredibly hard, taking on new roles and new projects, and on the whole, I’ve enjoyed it all (I wouldn’t have lasted 10 years otherwise!). The thing I’ve really missed though, is clinical practice and over the last year or so, the pull back to practice has grown stronger and stronger. I’ve always continued to maintain my links with clinical practice and continued to teach clinical skills, but it isn’t the same…..I also still have a long career ahead of me. I have 25 years left to work and so after a lot of thinking and a lot of talking, I made it my goal to have a new job by the end of the year. I guess the beauty of a nursing qualification means that career options are wide and varied so I had a lot to think about. I knew that I wanted to work with children and families again and I wanted to use my clinical skills. I wanted to get some work/life balance back in a job where I had more defined hours, but would still be challenged and have opportunity to lead and manage. I wanted the team banter and camaraderie that was present in so many clinical teams. I wanted to go back to my roots.
A few weeks ago I applied for a job as Ward Manager of a children’s ward at a local trust. I was interviewed and I got a great feeling about both the people I would be working with and the organisation. I have happily accepted the post. I’m now looking forward to working with babies, children, young people, and families once again, and I’m looking forward to a new challenge. I’m looking forward to meeting my team and leading them in the best way that I can. I will of course miss my students, and I will miss my colleagues, and I will miss those who have been my cheerleaders along the way.
I’m looking forward to going back to my roots 🙂