A day in the life of a Practice Development Nurse

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Harriet Cross

Practice Development Nurse at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.


My shift starts at 9.00 am and I usually head to my desk


On a typical day

My role is to improve care for patients by improving clinical practice, this mainly involves training, coaching and supporting staff and teams that work on the frontline.

The best thing about my role is…

Working with frontline staff. They do a difficult job and I enjoy building relationships and providing them with support.


My role is very varied but you will likely find me running a training session either as a presentation to a group or 1:1 in their workplace. Most of my meetings with matrons or with the Nursing exec are in the mornings.

I’ve been in my current role…

5 months

My proudest achievement is…

Overcoming my fear of presentations, I used to not sleep for days before I was due to do one. I still get nervous but it is contained to just before the session and I am able to carry on anyway.

What changes have you helped work on to improve the service for patients, staff, students?

I have worked with people returning to work or who are struggling with their jobs, to increase confidence and competence. I have led a quality improvement project to improve handover on the wards. I support the Newly Qualified Nurses and Trainee Nurse Associates.


Is usually something fairly healthy and vegetarian, I try and get away from my desk as often as possible


I’m often heard saying…


What inspires me is…

Colleagues that have cared for me when I have been having a difficult time.

The hardest part of my job is…

Engaging with frontline staff that are already very overstretched in their roles

The best part of my job is…

Seeing people’s confidence and competence grow

What qualifications or experience do you need to do your role?

A broad range of experience in different areas of nursing. A mentor qualification. Empathy for frontline staff and the ability to engage them.


I could be on the ward or working on a quality improvement project.


What’s the best thing you’ve learned in your role on the job?

Sometimes people ignore you because they’re busy, to not take this personally and to try again at another time.

What does bite-sized learning mean to you?

Taking a small bit at a time and concentrating on that. This strategy works for anything that feels overwhelming, not just studying.

What tips do you have for anyone wanting to join your profession?

Mental health nursing is difficult but rewarding. If you are unhappy try working in another area, don’t get into the mindset of feeling like you are stuck. You need to look after yourself to be able to provide good quality care to patients.

How are you compassionate to yourself or colleagues?

I try and think about why someone is the way they are and be respectful of it. No one functions well when under pressure or when burnt out.

Before I leave work 

I check my diary for the next day and think about if there’s anything I need to do.


After work

I scuba dive for fun and meditate for relaxation.



If you could travel back in time what work tip would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry, it all pans out in the end.


A day in the life… 
Interview with Jennifer Springham  @jlspringham2
Joint Appointment lecturer in Mental Health and Practice Development lead, My Care Academy.
Read more of Jenny’s blogs on this site here


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