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Joanna Dawson - Urgent Response Nurse

‘We are all working together to keep our patients and staff safe.’ – Meet Joanna Dawson, one of Solent NHS Trust’s Apprentices who has qualified as an Urgent Response Nurse and is helping to support demand within community services.

“I began my nursing career in 2008. I have wanted to be a nurse ever since I was a child, but due to being a very young mum, my journey was delayed. However, once my first two children were at an age where I could work a little more, I began concentrating on my own personal development. 

“After 3 years of working at Southampton General hospital as a health care support worker, I applied the level 3 diploma, previously the NVQ 3. I never felt academic at school, so this course was a huge boost to my confidence. I absolutely loved the course and completed it in under year. I had great feedback and support throughout from the teaching staff and my ward area. 

“I then secured a band 3 position on the major trauma ward. I gained a huge amount of knowledge in this role and worked there until 2016, with a short break when having my third child. I was very keen to start the level 4 apprenticeship; however the ward was so busy so they sadly couldn’t support me through this. My decision to leave the hospital environment was a difficult one, however I felt I needed to develop my skills and gain experience in the community.

“In 2016, I was lucky enough to secure my band 3 position working for the Urgent Response team. This was a big leap, but the team were so supportive of me and my desire for career progression. 

“I began the TNA apprenticeship in 2018. Juggling placements, essays and family life could feel challenging at times, however my confidence grew massively over the duration of the course. I have always struggled with public speaking, but I volunteered to take part in the new cohorts induction day where I did a small speech and I also volunteered and took part in the apprenticeship film advertisement for Solent university.  

“All these little things have helped me develop my confidence and I feel it has given me strength of character. I like being challenged and my knowledge and skills have greatly developed. I feel as though I am a real asset to my team. 

“I have now progressed to the registered band 4 nurse in the team and am undertaking assessments alongside the nursing staff. The timing of COVID-19 has meant that our roles have become less defined, but we are all working together to keep our patients and staff safe. Our team are fantastic at looking after each other and this has only been amplified in the current climate. 

“I look forward to continuing to support the NHS as we enter this uncertain time. If anyone is put off by the traditional route into becoming a qualified nurse, I would highly recommend the TNA course. I am so grateful for the opportunities that this qualification has made available to me.”