Lin Graham-Ray, Designated Nurse for Looked After Children at Merton and Wandsworth CCGs
“I was the youngest in my cohort when I started my Nurse training. It seems like only a few years ago but it is actually 26 years which I can hardly believe! I’ve worked in children’s services all my career and the last 18 years have been focused on supporting Looked after Children and care leavers.
“Looked after children, who are in the care of their local authority, often need extra help and support, including when they leave care as well.
“Perhaps its best if I let my Looked after children and care leavers tell you what I’ve done to help them. Their comments are part of my doctoral research where I’ve looked at the impact of nursing in a social care context:
“They used to call us the unadoptables, the ones no one wanted, but being given an identity and being part of something – that’s changed my life.”
“Without health and feeling well it’s difficult to have a life, thanks nurse.”
“I love working for the NHS because every day is different and there is an opportunity every day to help and support someone else, whether that is a child, young person or a colleague. Every day I hear conversations between colleagues about how we can improve the experiences of patients and offer them the best care. That is why the NHS is a great place to work.
“Being awarded Nurse of the Year was very special, not just because it was a lovely experience, but because it put Looked After Children on everyone’s agenda. The judges didn’t know what a Looked After Child was before they met me, they do now. Another was being asked by a long-term patient if I would be at his final adoption hearing, as he wanted all the people that were special in his care journey to be there.”