20220407 SMT Emily Sarah 15

Trust’s nurse becomes UK’s first Social Care Nurse Ambassador

A Registered Nurse at the St Monica Trust has been appointed the UK’s first Social Care Nurse Ambassador.

Sarah Saunders (32) is a Lead Nurse at the Trust’s John Wills House Care home and works on The Beeches short-term care unit.

Her new role as a Social Care Nurse Ambassador will see her working as part of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Primary Care Training Hub.

Sarah said: “Over the next twelve months the main aim of the role will be to establish a nursing network within BNSSG.

"By creating advocates, like myself, for social care nursing, we hope to be able to recruit more nurses for roles in adult social care across the region.”

Promoting social care nursing

Sarah started working for the Trust as a care assistant when she was 18. After completing her access to nursing course, Sarah graduated from UWE with a degree in adult nursing in 2016.

During her three years of study she continued to work weekends as a care assistant at John Wills House on bank, before returning to work as a Registered Nurse at the care home after graduating.

“There’s a real need to educate nurses about how rewarding working in social care can be.

"When I was at university we learnt about nursing in a hospital setting, acute nursing and community nursing, but the feeling was that social care nursing was being swept under the carpet.”

Preceptorship scheme

The St Monica Trust has a long established preceptorship scheme, which has helped a number of newly qualified nurses looking to establish a career in social care, including Sarah herself.

“We’ve currently got two student nurses on placement at the St Monica Trust and they are loving it.

"My role is about encouraging more nurses to come into social care, who can then become advocates themselves and then help spread the word even further.”

"Perfect role model..."

Sarah will be working as a Social Care Ambassador for one day a week alongside her role at John Wills House with the encouragement of Care Home Manager, Wendy Leaman.

Wendy said: “I am absolutely delighted for Sarah and have watched and admired her journey over the last ten years.

"Sarah is passionate about this role and what it means for the adult social care sector. She is the perfect role model for Registered Nurses to aspire to.”

"A rewarding and fulfilling career..."

Initially, Sarah’s Social Care Ambassador role will be for a twelve month contract. She said: “My aim is to get the role extended beyond the initial twelve months.

"If we can prove that it’s working well and we’re getting results, then we can expand the team and go onto bigger and better things.

“With all the pressures on the social care sector at the moment, both in terms of recruitment and retention of staff, it’s never been more important to show what a rewarding and fulfilling career being a Registered Nurse in a care home can be.

“I know that as far as my nursing career at the St Monica Trust goes - that has definitely been the case for me.”

The Adult Social Care Nurses Forum is being launched on Tuesday 17 May, 2022 and will include a free webinar on Type 2 Diabetes running from 7.00pm to 8.00pm. For more details please email sarah.saunders32@nhs.net or wendie.smith@nhs.net.

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