This #InternationalNursesDay we want to shine the spotlight on Debbie Hughes.
Debbie is a Walsall Healthcare Specialist Practitioner School Nurse and has provided an outstanding service to the NHS for 41 years.
The 59-year-old, from Wolverhampton, started her nurse training in 1981 at Dudley and Stourbridge School of Nursing, qualifying as an Registered General Nurse in 1984.
She briefly worked in Dudley for six months on an elderly care ward, but then moved to Walsall in early 1985, working at Goscote Hospital on the elderly care wards, both as a Staff Nurse and a brief spell as a night sister. She also worked on the TB unit for around 18 months.
She then moved to Walsall Manor Hospital, working in the elderly care day hospital which started to provide services to young stroke patients. It was this experience that sparked Debbie’s interest in health promotion and prevention of illness and she started School Nursing in 1996. She completed her Specialist Practitioner Degree in 2003 and was a Clinical Team Leader until her retirement in 2017, following which she returned part time as a Specialist Practitioner School Nurse.
Debbie’s current role entails supporting children, young people and their families. This includes undertaking health assessments, supporting emotional health and wellbeing and also providing support to vulnerable children and young people and early intervention. She also provides training and support to education staff.
The step grandmother-of-three said: “My role as a school nurse provides a lot of variety; one day you could be supporting vulnerable children and the next providing health education sessions to children and young people. I particularly enjoy the health promotion aspect of my role.
“It can sometimes be hard to emotionally distance yourself from witnessing children and young people experiencing difficult circumstances but I am very proud that I get to help and support our young patients.
When asking Debbie what she would like more people to know about nurses she said: “I would like more people to know that not all nurses work in hospitals and that it can be a very diverse and rewarding career.”
She added: “I think International Nurses’ Day is a great opportunity to celebrate nurses’ contribution to healthcare.”