Case Study: Meet Cheryl, Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA), Estuary View


I’m Cheryl Young and I am a Emergency Nurse Practitioner at Estuary View, Whitstable Kent.


What is the Professional Nurse Advocate (PNA) role?

The PNA role was developed as there was an obvious gap that wasn’t being met for nursing staff, their wellbeing was being overlooked and during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 this was a role that was initially rolled out to ITU Nurses in the Acute Trust. Prior to this in 2017 it was developed in Midwifery Services. as the pandemic progressed it was realised that all Nursing staff needed to have a PNA to help support staff on the wards, in the community and in general practices with their wellbeing.


Why did you apply to the programme?

At the end of 2020, myself and my colleague Alex noticed there was a steep decline in the wellbeing of our staff, people were really starting to feel the impact of the pandemic so we got together and started develop some wellbeing practices on our own initiative. We then realised there was a formal way that we could introduce into practice via the PNA Programme.


What projects have you worked on?

The project that I was studying for my PNA qualification was gratitude journaling; we came in every morning for a morning huddle and we wrote down 3 things we were grateful for and put them in a jar, we would then share one of those things we were grateful for during the huddle. Prior to the journaling I did a Survey Monkey to ask questions on wellbeing and then I repeated that at the end of the month to see if the journaling had helped and it showed a significant change in the way people were perceiving their days. Before people were feeling tired, stressed and feeling like they couldn’t cope with their workload and after a month of the gratitude journaling it had improved by 53%. People felt they were coping better and it showed a clear improvement in resilience. Gratitude journaling is still part of our morning huddle, we don’t formally write them down and put them in a jar but it is something we will be visiting during the year.


How have you included this into your weekly role?

Absolutely, we have included this into our weekly role. We have been recruited into the PNA role on the completion of the course we go on to the Health Education England (HEE) register as a PNA. We are given two hours a week each to fulfil this role.


How have you included this into your weekly role?

Absolutely, we have included this into our weekly role. We have been recruited into the PNA role on the completion of the course we go on to the Health Education England (HEE) register as a PNA. We are given two hours a week each to fulfil this role. What are the emerging themes? The emerging themes that we have been finding is that people do need ongoing support with their wellness, wellbeing, communication, which is one of the things that is highlighted when we are doing supervision sessions.


Are you undertaking this across your practice or across the PCN as a whole? Currently, Alex and I are working just for Estuary View and we concentrate on the Urgent Treatment staff, that’s not just nursing staff it is the whole multi-disciplinary team. Anyone who works in the Urgent Treatment Centre can come to us for support.


Why should others enrol in the PNA programme?

For anybody that is interested in leadership and management, it is a natural progression to help support staff in a more holistic way. There is also an opportunity to find out about any training concerns, an opportunity to improve the patient journey by changing the way that we do things because we are dealing with a multi-disciplinary team, people have lots of different opinions and when you take the opportunity to share those in a safe environment we get more out of it. Overall I think we have had a really great response and it’s had a positive impact so I don’t think I have any doubts about anyone going forward for the programme.


What do nurses gain from the programme?

Nurses gain a Master's qualification so 30 credits at Masters level. You become a registered PNA professional and gain the opportunity to work across boundaries in your area of work to deliver better care and wellbeing for the staff.


Do you link with colleagues across the system?

Yes, we have training days and in May I will be leading a session for the whole of the practice.


For more information on the PNA Programme, contact: kmpcth@nhs.net