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Meet Ruth Bailey - Advanced Nurse Practitioner and FSRH Council Nurse Representative
Date: 12 May 2022
Author: Emma Barrett
As part of our International Nurses Day 2022 celebrations, we chat to our newly elected Council Nurse Representative Ruth Bailey about her time as a member, and how she plans to highlight and celebrate the work of nurses working in sexual and reproductive health
Ruth, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and tell us what made you want to apply for this role on Council?
I've been a faculty member for a number of years and was extremely excited when I saw the advert for the role of Nurse rep on the FSRH Council.
It's an opportunity to really amplify the contribution of nurses; who are a significant proportion of the workforce delivering sexual and reproductive health care.
To me, it's really important that nursing issues are highlighted, that nurses are involved in shaping the development and the strategy of sexual and reproductive health care, and that our skills in advocating for patients are part of our campaigning and lobbying.
I am an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Sexual Health working in Primary care and I understand the clinical demands on Nurses working in SRH. Through my role on the RCN Womens Health Forum I have experience in working collaboratively and voicing nursing concerns, which I bring to this new role.
Can you tell us how membership of the faculty has supported you in your clinical practice?
"I know that I've benefited from some fantastic resources that are only accessible to members"
First and foremost it's enabled me to develop my clinical skills, by going through the Diploma programme and achieving Letters of competence in LARC fitting and I am now a newly accredited FRT.
I know that I've benefited from some fantastic resources that are only accessible to members. I have accessed many high quality, practically-focused webinars that that have been great. I have really valued the high standard conferences that I've been able to attend, and I was fortunate enough to secure a bursary that the Faculty makes available for nurse members. Few organisations do that, and I would really encourage other people to look out for that and to capitalise on that as a benefit!
What do you think are your priorities as the nurse representative on Council?
I think primarily they are around connecting with other nurses within the Faculty; and building and strengthening the relationships and the communication between nurses both within this organisation and also strengthening links with stakeholders outside the FSRH. That will require me to be visible and accessible so that I can listen to Nurses, communicate effectively and foster relationships and ensure that we capitalise on Nursing talent to achieve our strategic aims.
My first task is going to co-chair a Nurses Task and Finish group which has been established to take forward the recommendations that have come from the results of the Nurse Membership survey carried out last year.
We’ll be looking at the feedback from nurses, understanding what nurses really care about and making some concrete recommendations to broaden engagement of nurses within the Faculty.
I feel really excited about taking forward this work - I think it's a fantastic opportunity.
Ruth, what message would you give to nurses who are working in sexual and reproductive health right now?
My message would be, do not underestimate the difference that you make both on a day-to-day basis with women in your care and don't underestimate the enormity of the impact that you could make working with your colleagues to be able to campaign for women, highlight their concerns and make a tangible difference.
We are facing some unprecedented demands right now, ranging from the impact of the challenge of recovery from the pandemic, the challenges within the workforce in terms of understaffing and high levels of sickness, to a backlog of people waiting for LARC’s. We know that we've got unprecedented rates of domestic abuse and poor mental health. We know that we a disparity in equity of care, that women from black and ethnic minority groups are receiving unacceptably low levels of care, and that their health outcomes are poorer. This is the context that we are working in, and it is only by coming together by, by working and connecting with each other that we are going to be able to unleash our Nursing potential and our skill to be able to face those challenges.
And this is our organisation.
It’s an organisation that is going to enable us, to support us with the skills and education and development to meet that need, to recognise our skills and to give us the platform to articulate concerns on behalf of those women.
So my message to people is: don't underestimate your ability, amplify your voice, and really maximise the opportunities that we are faced with now - and get involved!
We're proud to support and empower our nurse members with our training, qualifications, and benefits - find out more about becoming a member today.
Interviewed by Gareth Groarke, FSRH Director of Membership and Marketing