Melanie Davies is a Ward Sister in a hospital in Swansea. Having worked as a nurse for 20 years, Melanie can speak volumes for the advantages of training, working and living in Wales. Melanie was named The Royal College of Nursing ‘Nurse of the Year’ for 2017 for her work championing the wellbeing of people with learning disabilities.
“I’m originally from the South Wales Valleys, and it was my uncle who inspired me to pursue a career in nursing and find ways of transforming the care of disabled patients. He had severe learning disabilities, so caring for him has always been part of my routine. I completed my general nursing training here and needed no prompting to stay near my family and develop a career in Wales.
“I work with patients who have learning disabilities and was assigned to my current ward to encourage changes towards staff attitudes and ward culture. As a result of this, I felt determined to make sure people with learning disabilities got the best possible care and experience. I recently helped put forward an initiative to deliver informal training sessions with ‘care packs’, and soon these were being used across my health board.
“Delivering these new concepts and making it a success was challenging, but resulted in my award for ‘Nurse of the Year 2017 from the Royal College of Nursing. It’s an honour to be recognised for your work, but I couldn’t have done it without the fantastic team behind me. I’m proud to have changed attitudes and behaviours towards patients, advanced by continuous support from NHS Wales in the country of its birth.
“As nurses in Wales, we’re given the opportunity to provide quality care to our patients while shaping the career we want with professional development and support so we can progress clinically. There are lifelong learning opportunities, and the work-based training allows us to develop skills while simultaneously carrying out patient duties. There’s also a clear route to advanced practice for newly qualified nurses who want to take their career to the next level.
“Aside from working in Wales, the beautiful landscape and beach life are impossible to miss here. I love being surrounded by the beaches and countryside. An active lifestyle mixed with a fulfilling nursing career are my reasons for encouraging nurses looking for a career change to put Wales at the forefront of their choices.”