We’ve Unlocked Our Potential – How About You?

I wanted to return to nursing…

Kim Grimmer – Practice Nurse at Hathaway Medical Centre

My nursing career has taken me all over the UK and abroad, from secondary care to serving as a Nursing Officer in the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service. I served in various locations and as part of my role I repatriated service men and women from all over the world including Kosovo, Canada and the Falkland Islands.

Why did you choose to work in a GP Practice?

When I had a family I chose to take a career break and so it was after I had completed my return to nursing practice course in 2012 that I decided the next chapter of my career could be in primary care. I knew that the working hours were more flexible than in a shift based environment making planning family commitments easier.

I currently work in a large GP practice and no two days are the same. Primary care nursing is so varied, you never know what challenges each patient will bring. It’s a really great feeling to make a difference to a patient’s day by resolving an issue and I get great job satisfaction from my role. I also enjoy the feeling of working in a GP practice, it’s like I belong and work in a family!

How have you been able to develop your skills and knowledge?

I believe primary care is what you make of it. In comparison to my previous roles, this has been the position that has given me the best access to further funded education. When required, support from my nursing and medical colleagues has been exceptional, allowing me to progress through an MSc in Advanced Practice and gaining skills such as becoming an Independent Non-Medical Prescriber. The knowledge and skills I have gained has led me to become the Team Leader for a large group of nurses and the support from colleagues continues.

Is there anything that you have worked on in the practice that you are particularly proud of?

There are many innovative projects to become involved in. For example, I have recently been involved in setting up the locality Leg Club in Chippenham. The feedback from staff and patients has been so positive and I feel very proud to be involved in such a forward thinking dynamic team. The project has been such a success other surgeries are now looking into accessing our service.

I can truthfully say I am very happy to be working in Wiltshire, it’s a beautiful place with wide open spaces and rolling hills, but there is still great access to universities for further education and for students coming to work within practices on placements.

Every day of work is different…

Tom Heath - GP at Lodge Surgery

I have been a fully qualified GP since 2015 and originally trained in Oxfordshire, but moved to Wiltshire in 2016. It was not a difficult decision to move as I already knew the area and all the positives it can offer as a place to live.

What’s an average working week for you?

My week consists of working seven clinical sessions at Lodge Surgery in Chippenham, consulting with patients face-to-face and over the telephone. I work in a well-run and supportive training practice and enjoy working as part of a team delivering high quality care to our catchment area in North Wiltshire.

What do you particularly enjoy about your role?

I enjoy the variety of patients we care for, ranging from young families and children to elderly patients in care homes. Every day of work is different. Chippenham is a friendly town and as a practice we really feel like a part of the local community.

Why Wiltshire?

Wiltshire is a great place to live. You can enjoy the country life, with great places to go walking, cycling and generally explore the great outdoors. Bath and Bristol are nearby and convenient to get to, so we are spoilt for choice when it comes to shops, restaurants and nightlife.

What are you looking forward to/aspiring to do in the future?

In the future I plan to stay in the same practice and provide continuity of care to our patients. I am a relatively newly qualified GP, but I aspire to become more involved in the running of our practice and take an interest in healthcare provision over the wider Wiltshire area. Chippenham is an expanding town, so local healthcare services will have to adapt accordingly, which promises to be both challenging and exciting.

I was inspired…


Pip Nightingale - Practice Nurse at Rowden Surgery

I was working as a care assistant at a residential home and seeing district nurses care for people inspired me to do my nurse training.  I completed the Access to Higher Education one year course at Bath College followed by three years training at the University of the West of England, Bristol. I had such varied placements throughout my training but primary care stood out to me as an area I could develop really useful skills and start my career. I learn something new every day. Since joining Rowden Surgery as a practice nurse I haven’t looked back - I love it!

What’s an average working week for you?

My role is varied: my main clinics involve assessing and dressing wounds, administering injections, and travel consultations. I also complete memory assessments for patients and assist doctors with coil fittings and minor ops. On Thursdays I work with a team of other nurses and HCAs at Leg Club.

What do you particularly enjoy about your role?

I love being able to make a difference to people’s wellbeing, both psychologically and physically. For example, helping a patient with a fear of injections or helping to heal a wound. I also really enjoy working independently managing my own clinics, with the knowledge that there is such a supportive team nearby who are always happy to help each other out.

What are you looking forward to/aspiring to do in the future?

My plan is to learn as much as possible and keep developing my knowledge in different areas. Gaining experience through working is priceless.  Once I feel ready, I would love to do my nurse practitioner training.

Is there anything that you have worked on in the practice that you are particularly proud of?

I am proud to be a part of Chippenham Leg Club, which aims to reduce social isolation for patients with Leg Ulcers. We started it in November 2017 and it has already evolved into a fully functioning place that patients enjoy coming to. The volunteers who provide refreshments and company to patients are brilliant and welcoming. But best of all, our healing rates of ulcers have improved massively.

A childhood ambition…

Amanda Houston – Healthcare Assistant at Hathaway Medical Centre

I have worked here for three years, answering calls from patients, booking appointments and dealing with patient’s queries.

When a position became available to train as an HCA I jumped at the chance. I always wanted to work in healthcare but wasn’t very confident in my abilities. This has been a bit of a dream come true for me.

What’s an average working week for you?

I have a very diverse role in the practice so on an average week I can see patients with many different requirements from blood tests to compression bandaging.

What do you particularly enjoy about your role?

I really enjoy working with the patients, building up a rapport with the ones I see on a regular basis.  I am a dab hand at making nervous patients feel at ease before a blood test, it’s all about distraction!

I enjoy the opportunities that working here gives me, and the great team of people I work with.

What made you choose to work in primary care?

This is my first role in primary care, It’s not always easy but I can honestly say it’s been the most rewarding and fulfilling job I’ve ever had.

What are you looking forward to/aspiring to do in the future?

I have high hopes for my future. If the opportunity arises I would like to be able to do a nursing apprenticeship so that I can become a registered nurse. This will make a childhood dream come true for me.

Developing my career…

Stuart Webb - Trainee/Deputy Practice Manager at Cross Plain Health Centre
Stuart Webb - Trainee/Deputy Practice Manager at Cross Plain Health Centre

What’s an average working week for you?

A Practice Manager’s role is challenging and constantly changing. Big projects often mean a longer working week than average but it’s incredibly varied and I can be doing any number of things from sorting out issues with the premises, helping with HR or meeting with my peers to discuss the future of primary care within the locality and wider areas.

What do you particularly enjoy about your role?

I particularly enjoy feeling like the work I do benefits others in some way.

What do you like about living in Wiltshire?

I lived in various parts of the UK before moving to Wiltshire and since being here have found that I really enjoy living in a county with thriving communities. There is plenty to do, lovely landscapes and great links if you want to travel to other parts of the country.

What are you looking forward to/aspiring to do in the future?

In the short term I am looking forward to allowing the current practice manager to reduce her hours as I am able to take on more of her role and develop my career. In the long term I look forward to working with others in the locality to shape the care we provide to move towards a more sustainable future for primary care.

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Other Images of Wiltshire Provided Courtesy of Visit England

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