Posted on: 12 June 2024

Last year, Ceylon successfully joined the CNWL Chief Nurse Fellowship programme, the Trust’s professional development initiative designed to develop future nursing leaders. Read about the celebration event!

At the beginning of the programme she was working as Band 7 Senior Practitioner.  She now proudly works at Milton Keynes Mental Health Hub in her role as a Band 8a team manager.

She reflects on her time spent on the programme, and how it helped her get to where she is now.

What made you want to join the Chief Nurse Programme?

“At the time I wasn't sure where I wanted to go with my career. I had lots of clinical interests, leadership and research interests. As a nurse, there are so many opportunities and it got to the point where I wanted to really explore other opportunities.

With the support of my manager I applied. There's a reality that BAME or people of colour may not always have the opportunities to go the next band up or the next level up. I thought this would be a good introduction for me to understand how higher level processes work for patient care, but also being able to role model.”

What did you learn the most about on the programme?

“I learnt the sort of functional skills, learning about finance, quality, governance, nursing processes, and how to present those things at board level.
Also being accountable for what happens were things that were really helpful to prepare me for the role I have now. It prepared me for that level of oversight of systems and processes and clinical excellence in clinical care. I think when you're leading and managing a team, it's about ensuring there's consistency as much as possible. I think the fellowship equipped me with all of those skills.”

How supported were you on the programme?

“My mentor was incredible, she guided me and said, these are all of the things you need to attend, that you need to be a part, you need to listen to that, so I learned very quickly.
I think if you have a great mentor on the programme who supports you, then you know you're on to a winner, you know?"

What have you achieved since completing the programme?

"I'm currently studying for a PhD, and although it's not a direct skill because a doctorate is academic, it did enable me to actually put that academia into practise. I have a research profile now with all my articles I've published and the fellowship was really supportive of that.

I think the advantage of nursing is there are many routes and especially when you get to the management or leadership based roles, there are so many options and routes. I can use my learnt skills for research based work, or if I wanted to go into a higher position there are lots of options!"

What could others learn from your experience?

"If people are worried about where will this take me? You will always need quality care and clinical excellence, be that through management or leadership or academia, nurse specialisms, you will always need that foundation of systems work and I think that's what this fellowship gives people.

The interview is designed like a senior leadership interview, so from the beginning you’re already put forward into that senior leadership framework

I'd say even if you're uncertain about joining the programme, enquire about it, speak to previous cohort members or speak to your manager. So if anything go for it!"