Joining the Foundation of Nursing Studies

Jacky Vincent, Senior Nursing Advisor for Learning Disabilities

As a Registered Nurse Learning Disability (RNLD), qualifying in the early 1990s, I have worked in mental health and learning disability services, predominantly in the NHS and in both community and inpatient services. Over the years, I have held several nursing leadership roles in an NHS provider trust, with a number of years as Deputy Chief Nurse and, more recently, as Chief Nursing Officer for two and a half years in an outstanding trust. I am also an Honorary Fellow at the University of Hertfordshire.

Throughout my career, I have never stopped feeling proud and privileged to be a nurse. As I furthered my career, visiting service areas, meeting with frontline staff and those who use services is what has kept me grounded and has always been the reminder about why I went into nursing over 30 years ago.

Having read the independent engagement initiative ‘Celebrate Me: Capturing the voices of learning disability nurses and people who use services’, led by the FoNS in 2019, I was heartened to read about the passion, compassion, drive, determination, pride and commitment; all emotions I can relate to. Working with both FoNS and NHS England, I am involved in a number of pieces of work with a focus on learning disability nursing and, as an RNLD, this is incredibly important to me. I recall my first week in nurse training in 1990, when we were advised that there is not strong future for the nursing pathway – and here we still are!

Over the years as a nurse leader, I have been asked about what advice I could pass on to others on their own nursing career journey, and I would say:

  • Stay grounded and connected, and keep those who use services at the centre
  • Be proud and celebrate your successes
  • Be passionate – I have always been a strong advocate working in mental health and learning disability services; so, create your own platform and make some noise!

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