Anna Gammond, a Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK, has been awarded the prestigious Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship. She is one of a handful of applicants who will receive funding from the Florence Nightingale Foundation to invest in their personal development with a key focus on leadership skills. Anna has been a nurse for nine years. Having previously worked in care homes, she now works in Bupa UK’s Mental Health Team based in Manchester. We caught up with Anna to find out more about what the scholarship means to her.
What drew you to nursing?
When I was 14-years-old my nanna was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My family was shocked and devastated and this changed our whole dynamic. My mum cared for my nanna who was extremely poorly. I also wanted to help care for her and this made me think about how I could help when my nanna didn’t even know who she was.
I spent time with her getting into her world. I went for walks with her, comforted her when she was upset, encouraged her to eat and most of all just sat and listened to her. This ignited my passion and drive for nursing. I wanted to help the most vulnerable and offer a listening ear. At the age of 18, just before I went to university, I started working as a home care worker. I loved this job and it cemented my goal to be a mental health nurse.
What are you most proud of in your current role?
I’m very proud of the work we do as a team every day. We help those in the most distressing of times. There are also three things I’m particularly proud of. Firstly, building my confidence with the support of my manager, which has helped me to believe in myself and see the next stage of my career. Secondly, applying for the Florence Nightingale Scholarship, going through the rigorous assessment process and finding out I had achieved a place on one of the most prestigious nursing scholarships out there. And finally, a project I recently rolled out at Bupa to support mental health advisers and help them reflect and learn from their experiences. The advisers take the most difficult calls and support people through the most difficult times in their lives. The feedback from the project has been great and this has made me want to focus more on wellbeing in the workplace.
Can you tell us about a day you’ll never forget?
I’ve had many of these days. Each day I turn up to work I never know what I am going to be met with and often a particular case will stick in my head. I’ve seen and heard some distressing stories and have also been able to be a part of aiding many people’s recovery - so I would say any day in nursing is a day never to forget.
Tell us about the Florence Nightingale Scholarship, why did you apply?
My goal for five years' time is to become a clinical lead within Bupa. I have a passion for leading my team, however, I feel the Florence Nightingale Scholarship will give me an excellent foundation in enhancing my leadership skills. Sometimes I lack confidence and this is where the Florence Nightingale Scholarship will support and develop my skills.
I'm very passionate about healthcare and, in particular, mental health. I want people to experience the best possible care. The scholarship will help define my leadership style - to deliver my views in a manner in which will be taken on board and influence change. I'm excited to go out of my comfort zone and embrace challenge in order to reach my vision and goal of becoming a leader. I feel really honoured to be awarded the scholarship as it's extremely prestigious.
What are you hoping to achieve from the scholarship?
My improvement project is to strengthen wellbeing within the workplace. I've already started on this and I am looking forward to publishing my work at the end of the year.
My main aim is to learn skills that'll allow me to impact change to policy and practice and to improve patient care and health outcomes. I also look forward to meeting with other scholars, as I truly believe that engaging with other talented professionals often has an inspiring impact on your own future and skills.