Posted on: 12 May 2021

Clare Palmer, Lead Nurse for the Infection Prevention and Control Team with our Diggory Division, qualified as a nurse in 1990 and took on various roles throughout her career. However, for the last eight years she has worked within the Infection Prevention Team, an area at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic. She shares her story to mark International Nurses Day.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do… so decided to go to college,” Clare says. “There was a pre-nursing course on offer, and I became interested. That really propelled me to discover nursing.”

Not only is Clare a qualified midwife, but she has worked in medical and surgical nursing (specialising in orthopaedics), as well as emergency medicine and education teams. She has even helped to set up a nurse-led blood transfusion clinic.

“For all of my nursing career, each stage has been a stepping stone onto the next part of my journey. I didn’t know that I wanted to do Infection prevention, however I know it’s where I want to be now.

“My journey in infection prevention (IPC) started in 2009, when I was seconded as a Senior Sister to the isolation ward for clostridium difficile patients,” she says. “I ran this unit for three years and found that I loved IPC.”

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Clare started in the Infection Prevention Team in 2012, and a year later she took on a community post with MK Community Health, which later became CNWL.

“This is where I have been for that last eight years. During this time, I have completed my MSc in Infection Prevention, taken on a Lead Nurse role and I became a Queen’s Nurse in 2020.”

For Clare, Covid-19 has been her work since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Putting my knowledge around IPC into practice is enormously satisfying. It has made me immensely proud to represent my profession and rise to the challenge during the pandemic. Knowing my advice and support protects patients and staff is incredibly rewarding.

“Working in infection prevention has been both amazing and terrifying all at the same time,” she says. “I have a ‘work family’ who are not just nurses that have been together since the beginning of the pandemic. We have laughed, cried and been there for each other. Whether it is a slice of cake or encouragement to talk about how we are feeling we have been there for each other. A cup of tea and a laugh goes a long way.”

When asked about what makes being a CNWL nurse unique, she said:

“I feel that CNWL values all nurses and it’s great to have a senior nursing team who recognise and actively encourage nurses to play their part. I have been able to grow and develop within CNWL. The CNWL family is unique as everyone is valued within the Trust and all professional successes are celebrated. All the directors are accessible and will always find time for you.”