The Nightingale Frontline: Leadership Support Service was launched at the start of the pandemic in April 2020 to provide emotional and wellbeing support to nurses and midwives working on the frontline of COVID-19. Nurses and midwives work with trained specialists who help them develop the skills to support each other during this unprecedented time. As a foundation we are committed to helping nurses and midwives across healthcare. To find a full list of our Nightingale Frontline: Leadership Support Sessions, please visit here. 

Could you tell us a little bit about your role?

I’m Anne Biggs, a clinical nurse specialist in children’s allergy at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust. We are a large, multidisciplinary, well-established children’s allergy service. I run the nurse led allergy clinics and oversee the operational aspects of the service. I am a nurse prescriber who has been qualified 16 years and in this post for 5 of those years.


What made you want to join the Nightingale Frontline Leadership Support Session, and which one did you attend?

I attended the Nightingale Frontline Leadership Support Session for Ward Managers and Team Leaders as I wanted to use the opportunity to strengthen and reflect on my leadership style. The details of the session were shared by our divisional children’s nursing lead and it was easy to sign up and squeeze in the diary. It was a small group meeting online and was very well hosted and led by an experienced nurse and facilitator.


What are some of the key points that you felt you learnt from your session?

There was an opportunity to talk about challenges at work, and personally reflect on solution focused approaches. We discussed how to apply this approach to both work and personal life and also how to support other members of staff who were in similar situations at our practices.

It was time to really stop and think about challenges at work and conflicting pressures, especially after a year of frequent changes and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It made me think about my approach in supporting staff and managing my service. We discussed different leadership styles and the need for different approaches, especially in these continued unprecedented times.


Can you tell us some of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to your day-to-day work, and has the session has helped address any of these issues?

Whilst our service initially was suspended for all face-to-face consultations, we were able to run the first off site face to face clinics for urgent referrals. We have gone from having 8 full allergy clinics a week to only seeing urgent referrals while the trust is reducing footfall through the hospital. There have a been a lot of operational changes such as switching to video consultations and changing locations.

It has also been a year of worry and uncertainty for colleagues, as it has been across the whole NHS, and this session allowed me to spend some time reflecting on the last year and my plan for going forward.


Would you recommend to other nurses and midwives and if so, why?

Yes, I would highly recommend this course to my colleagues! Firstly, because of its convenience. It’s online and there are plenty of sessions and dates to choose from so you can select a date and time that works with your schedule. Most importantly, having attended various leadership study days over the years, this was a personable and relevant session to the current times and challenges that we are practicing as nurses in.


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