Eretta Dowdasingh - Primary Care Carer Liaison Lead

eretta's story2

'Moving into management has been an exciting
step for me'

Eretta is an experienced nurse who has worked in medical, surgical, neurological rehabilitation, gynaecology, and mental Health. She has worked both in the UK and in Jamaica. She moved into community nursing in 2004 and was quickly promoted to senior community nurse. She then later completed her Specialist Practitioner course in District Nursing and worked as a district nurse team leader for four years.  Eretta recognises that it is easy to expand your vision as a nurse by taking ownership of your career development. She is continually studying and was recently successful in applying for the post of Primary Care Liaison Lead in February 2014.

Eretta is very happy to have made the move into community nursing. “The demands of district nursing are never same. My clinical skills are far greater than when I worked as a ward nurse – I am more responsible and my remit is broader”, she said. In addition to nursing skills, Eretta feels that communication and working with others is a key requirement for a District Nurse. “I have enormous respect for the multi-disciplinary team I work with; we all have our specialisms but we work together closely in the interests of our patients”. This includes developing partnerships with GPs; “I have good relations with all my GPs - it is something which I pride myself for”. 

The level of independence and autonomy placed in district nursing is something which Eretta feels is a key factor in her career progression. “It is really a role where you can show your initiative and develop yourself in ways you never imagined”, she says. “You learn management skills very early on as a district nurse – how to manage your time, your caseload and your relationships. You are a central point in a very cohesive team. You also have lots of flexibility ”.

It is clear that Eretta is enjoying the challenges of being a manager. “Moving into management has been an exciting step for me. I have always liked motivating and supporting nurses to help them achieve their potential”. Eretta particularly likes teaching, and mentoring student nurses; “It’s important that senior nurses take the time out to pass their skills on to the next generation”. But Eretta still makes sure she has time to see her patients every day; “this is the most important aspect of my role”, she says, “The job is most rewarding when you deliver care to the best of your ability and the patient is happy and satisfied. Knowing that you have made a difference in someone’s life is a special feeling.”

Eretta’s new role has much more of a business focus. “I identify barriers to people accessing services and work with a wide range of people and agencies to make improvements that will improve the care provided to all.  So far I am enjoying the challenge, especially as equality and inclusion is something about which I am passionate. But there is lots to do – I will definitely be very busy!”. One of the areas she is focussing on is the support provided to carers, who, she says, play a critical role in the health and wellbeing of patients. “They are frequently stressed which can lead to both physical and mental illness – by recognising this and providing appropriate interventions it can significantly benefit the primary patient. Very often there is little support provided to carers and I feel very proud to have been instrumental in achieving funding from the commissioners for this vital service”. 

Eretta feels that the merged Trust will be able to deliver a much more cohesive service and she is looking forward to more joint working with health and social care coming together. She agrees that there will also be more opportunities for staff to progress in the way that she has. “There is a real focus on both personal and professional development here.  We are always encouraged to keep learning new skills – I am having almost completed my Level 1 BSL interpreting course, which will help me greatly with my work on social inclusion as it will help ensure no one is excluded from our service”.

Inclusion is a particularly important issue in the borough of Brent, one of the most multicultural regions in the country.  “I love the diversity in Brent – it is definitely a challenging borough to work in as the population have multiple and complex needs. But if you are able to meet those needs then you are provided with an enormous sense of achievement”. Eretta also appreciates the very strong sense of community in Brent, something which has spread to her own team. “It is very special – we are like our own community too. “There is a warm, friendly atmosphere in the team and I feel reassured that every single person in the team has the patient at the heart of everything they do”.