Grantham nurse Jenny Harper has been honoured for her work in the community by being awarded the title Queen’s Nurse by the Queen’s Nursing Institute.
Jenny joined the Vulnerable Children and Young People Team in 2009 and the honour will mean Jenny can take her work helping vulnerable children and young people including victims of sexual exploitation across the country.
This week, the Journal spoke to Jenny about how the honour came about and her work in the Grantham area.
Q) What is your history as a nurse?
A) I’ve always been a Grantham nurse and I’m very, very proud to serve Grantham. I really, love Grantham. We have got a good hospital and good health services and we need to be proud of what we provide in the community. I started in Grantham Hospital in the operating theatres and in the children’s ward then became a health visitor in Grantham. I loved my job as a health visitor. It was fantastic and the people I met were brilliant but this is the way I wanted to go, working with adolescents.
Q) What does your work involve now?
A) The area I specifically work in is vulnerable young people and children. My passion is helping children who have been sexually exploited. That’s why I wanted to become a Queen’s Nurse. Children such as those don’t have a strong voice in the community. They are in such circumstances through no fault of their own but are not able to access services in the same way as their peer group. I wanted to raise their profile and get them on an equal footing.
Q) Why work with adolescents?
A) They are a really hard group to target, adolescents, but they have a lot to offer the community. We have been involved with some really disadvantaged children who are now in jobs and not re-offending, not taking risks with their safety and have come on well. For me that’s the best thing. I’m more interested in those kinds of results than anything else.
Q) How did the Queen’s Nurse title come about?
A) I made the application myself and received support from my manager. It’s an excellent trust (Lincolnshire Community Health Services). They encourage you to develop and will support you along that road. The award is in recognition of high standards and quality of practice, development and leadership. It’s all about sharing with other colleagues too. You have to put yourself forward for the award as the work is quite a commitment. You have to have work published in journals every year and attend various meetings across the country. It’s also about raising the profile of the area you work in.
Q) How do you feel about receiving the honour?
A) Very, very proud. Not just for me. We are a fairly new team - we have been going three years - and I have been there from the start, helping to build the team up and recruit the staff. They are all so motivated and, although the award goes to me, it’s about the whole team. Everyone has the same view that we have to offer these children the best we can - and the do even better. But for me I’m so pleased because, in achieving this award, I can take this message out nationally.