Social Care CLE Guide

Melissa Stanton RCN

Lead Nurse Independent Health and Social Care, Royal College of Nursing North West Region

As an RCN member and Registered Adult Nurse with over 20 years’ experience working within Health and Social Care, I chose to become a Nurse following in my late Grandmothers footsteps. I have always had a strong desire to build on best practice and drive change to improve outcomes for the people we care for.

Like many professionals, I started my career in the NHS. I knew little about the Independent Sector at that time as it wasn’t heavily promoted by the university or associated networks. After 4 years of working in the NHS an Independent Sector employer approached me with an opportunity to enhance my existing skillset and develop as a healthcare leader. Gathering additional knowledge within Community Complex Care, Clinical Teaching, Domiciliary Care and Agency Nursing I worked hard to become a National Complex Care Manager for a well-known Independent Sector employer.

Having moved from Birmingham to Manchester I progressed my career within care homes. The first care home I managed had an embargo with regulatory conditions for operation. The home had a lot of negative press and was about to close. Being the forever optimist, I said I would make positive changes for the people living there and one day leave the home with a waiting list. I did just that and 3 years later had an additional skill set for crisis management in care homes. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of opportunities with care home providers to create and embed positive change. As a very family focused environment, care homes will always have a special place in my heart personally and professionally.

In August 2022 I commenced post as an RCN Officer. It gave me additional skills in the management of employee relations and a greater understanding of both Trade Unions and Professional Bodies. When I heard about the Lead Nurse post being advertised, I was very excited as I felt my skills and experience would be a perfect fit for the role and a true representation of the sector. Securing the role in December 2022, one of my key priorities was to initially meet with the newly formed Integrated Care Boards and understand each regions key objectives and timescales for delivery. The Health and Care Act 2022 enabled a collaborative approach for organisations such as the NHS, Local Government, and wider system partners like the Independent Sector employers to work together. I was delighted when the Integrated Care Boards were formed creating Integrated Care Partnerships thus amplifying the voice of the Independent Sector. The newly formed Social Care Nurse Advisory Councils (SCNAC) Leads within my region are testament to how our sector is now beginning to get the recognition it deserves. Working with all the Integrated Care Partners will make positive change for both the existing workforce and the future care givers.