Claire Jones – Immunology Nurse
IT IS BY NO MEANS inevitable that every little girl will fulfil her childhood dream, but as Claire Jones wouldn’t settle in any other occupation, perhaps for her it was a foregone conclusion that she would indeed become the amazing nurse she is today.
Claire, 33, began her training at the Trust in 2007. Born and bred in the Black Country, she went to college and gained a qualification in business. She went on to university and then began working in the Police, but she didn’t enjoy it. Growing up, she had always wanted to be a nurse – “a blue nurse like Duffy in Casualty,” she laughs – and eventually a colleague in the police gave her the application forms.
“It was just the push I needed,” she says. “And now I’m doing the job I’ve always truly wanted.”
After qualifying in 2010, she began her nursing career in Critical Care, where she stayed for three years. She decided to change her direction, however, after the birth of her child.
“I went on maternity leave for a year,” she explains. “And after that year at home with the baby I decided I wanted to specialise in something a little more specific; something in which I could spend more time with the patients themselves and feel like I was making a difference.”
Now working in Immunology and seeing the same faces regularly, Claire views getting to know the patients as one of the most rewarding parts of her job. “There are two parts to my job – treating patients with long-term conditions, and treating patients with severe allergies. With the long-term patients, you really get to know some of them and it’s a real drive for me to make their lives easier wherever I can.”
Claire explains that while she has typical weeks, no two shifts are ever the same. “I see a mix of outpatients for allergy testing, as well as running day care sessions for the allergy patients and patients with long-term conditions. I love chatting with them and I really appreciate all the feedback they give me; positive is always great but negative is also something I try to view in a good way. It helps me to always try and be better at my job.”
And it seems that now the opportunities are coming to her thick and fast. She was recently invited to present her findings on a study she and her fellow colleagues had carried out on home therapy at a national conference, “and I’m actually presenting the same findings at a conference in Los Angeles in a few weeks!”
When asked who her biggest influence was, Claire cited Lesley Skinner, her mentor in Critical Care. “Lesley definitely made me the nurse I am today,” she said. “She’ll tell me otherwise, but she taught me so much and I really think my career could have gone in a completely different direction were it not for her.”
Now she’s doing a job she loves, and with a three year old at home and a wedding to plan, Claire doesn’t ‘do’ downtime. “My other half works Monday to Friday like I do now, so it’s nice to have the weekends as a family,” she says. “I also love to play netball, and we’re season ticket holders at West Bromwich Albion. Sometimes it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day!”