Sian Thomas is a Consultant Nurse for Child Health at the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, in South Wales. Nursing in Wales over the past 36 years has allowed her to develop tailor-made initiatives that meet the needs of her patients. Work that resulted in her winning the Royal College of Nursing ‘Nurse of the Year’ Award in 2016.
“Coming from West Wales, I needed no persuasion on the career benefits of training, working and living in my birthplace, and that of the modern NHS. I completed my general nursing training here and went on to specialise in children’s health - where I’ve honed my knowledge and expertise over the years.
“The opportunities to learn on the job, in a highly supportive environment, with continuous professional development at every step of the way, have been second to none. I have gained the experience, knowledge and skills needed to practice nursing at an advanced level and to progress my career as a consultant nurse. I am now in my sixteenth year as a Consultant Nurse for Child Health in South Wales and couldn’t be happier. I’m a previous Chairperson for the Consultant Nurse, Midwife and Allied Health Professional Forum which is actively involved in giving nurses a voice and in shaping the future of our profession.
“Nursing in Wales is very empowering. We pride ourselves on our resilience and the knowledge that our duty of care to our patients really does make a difference. I was lucky enough to receive the ‘Nurse of the Year 2016’ award from the Royal College of Nursing for my work in developing innovative support systems for children with very complex health needs. An award of which I’m very proud and incredibly grateful to my colleagues and my Health Board for their encouragement and I’m pleased to say that work in this clinical area continues to develop. Having undertaken research and travelled to the States to explore international practice I have been able to influence National policy and develop guidance for staff on the use of blended diets for enterally tube fed patients.
“Whether you’re a newly qualified nurse or you’ve been nursing for years, a move to Wales can really take you places in your career – I’m living proof of that. Add to that the strong sense of community, affordable homes and stunning natural landscape - what’s not to like? I’d encourage everyone looking for a rewarding nursing career to put Wales at the top of their list.”