Sarah McKown

Head of Clinical Services for Quality, Safety and Risk

On a typical day…

I am not sure there is something like a typical day, as each day can be so varied. Depending on where I am in the county, days can start early, but is usually a combination of meetings, discussions and contacts with teams. Over the last year due to the impact of COVID, ‘virtual’ contact has increased as ‘in person contact’ has needed to be manged. Going forward, I am looking forward to having more patient and staff contact, as these are the aspects of my role which offer the most job satisfaction and where I feel I can impact the most.

How do you feel you’ve made a difference as a nurse?

Over my career how I have made a difference has changed but the ways of working with care, compassion and commitment have remained. I have been very lucky to work in both acute and community roles. My early years were focused on the impact I made on the individual patient and their family while delivering direct care within a critical care environment. This included the promotion of health and the prevention of harm while working as a health visitor to children and their families. My leadership role has developed as a result of my varied experiences and roles over the years. My present role focussing on clinical quality, safety and risk gives me a wider focus, although often involved in individual aspects of care delivery, I also work with a more population, service-wide perspective in partnership to support the delivery of high-quality care. Taking action to identify and prevent harm and help create an environment where learning and improvement flourishes, ensuring safety for patients, staff and the organisation.

What inspired you to go into nursing?

I always wanted to go into nursing as a child, I am not sure if I was influenced by the dramas on television or our local district nurse who was well known in the village, but I never contemplated any other career. From the day I started as a student nurse I have never wanted to do anything else, the individual aspects of the role, the impact the job makes on others and the core values of nursing, define me and have continued to inspire me.

If you want a job which fundamentally focusses on caring for people, can be different every day, continues to challenge and motivate, as well as offering the most job satisfaction possible, a career in nursing is for you.

What are your memorable moments?

Memorable moments are many and for a variety of reasons. Some were not amusing for me at the time, such as when I was a student I pumped up a bed to change the sheets and ripped the emergency alarm of the wall which resulted in 15 minutes of alarms…during a consultant ward round and a subsequent trip to sisters office! It still stays in my mind and makes me smile.

My most memorable memories to date are some of the times I have shared with patients or staff, some very happy times and some very sad times. Times when it is a privilege to be a nurse, and I have been lucky to be part of some great teams.