After years of advanced clinical practice and dedication to making life safer for mums and their babies, Jo Macleod has become Royal Surrey’s first Nurse Consultant. She becomes one of just a few neonatal Nurse Consultants in the UK, having met stringent standards set out by the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM).
Jo, who started off as a Neonatal Nurse and progressed to an Advanced Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, recognised that she had reached the ‘ceiling’ in her career path. But earlier this year, BAPM produced a framework for becoming a Neonatal Nurse Consultant, and Jo decided to apply.
The BAPM framework’s four key requirements cover clinical care and the ability to manage complex decision-making, as well as leadership and management skills, education and staff development and quality improvement (QI) work and research.
Jo said: “I was absolutely over the moon when I heard that I had been successful in obtaining the role of Nurse Consultant. This is what I’ve wanted to do ever since becoming a nurse. I’m absolutely chuffed to bits.
“I’m very involved in local and regional maternity and neonatal safety forums and my work involves looking at the wider picture, rather than just concerns within the Trust. It’s about helping neonatal care and keeping neonates safe, but it’s about research and QI work too.”
One of Jo’s QI projects with newborn babies was such a success that it has been copied by hospitals around the country. Inspired by noticing that a significant number of full-term babies were being admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) after becoming cold and suffering a drop in blood sugar levels, Jo worked with Clare Worthington, the Trust’s Clinical Governance Midwife, on a QI project to tackle the problem. The pair introduced bobble hats for newborns in order to help keep babies warm after birth. The result was a dramatic reduction in SCBU admissions for babies with low blood sugar levels.
Amy Stubbs, Deputy Director of Midwifery and Divisional Head of Nursing for Women and Children, said: “I am tremendously proud of Jo’s achievement in becoming the Trust’s first Nurse Consultant. Jo is an influential role model, demonstrating the positive impact that advanced nursing practice can make on care of patients, development of staff and the services we provide. Jo’s expert knowledge of neonatal care is demonstrated across all four pillars of advanced nurse practice and she is an integral member of the clinical team leading our neonatal services.”
Jo said: “I’ve been very lucky because my managers have let me mould this job into what the service needed and how I would like the job to be as well, which has kept me motivated. I’ve also had lots of support from colleagues. Amy knows now that I come up with ideas all the time, but she’s very supportive and she generally lets me run with them. The majority of them do work out.”
Jo Mountjoy, Chief Nurse, said: “For the past year, the Trust’s Advanced Practice Group has been working with the regional and national teams to write the Nurse Consultant job description and to ensure it maps to the four pillars.
“I’d like to congratulate Jo on her fantastic achievement and for the inspiration this gives to others. I’m extremely proud of all our nursing staff. We would like to encourage and support staff to take every available opportunity to advance careers.”
For more information, please contact Jo Mountjoy, Chief Nurse, or Tamsin Enticknap-Green, Deputy Director of Nursing and Multi-Disciplinary Education.