Kirsty McKelvey – WT Nightingales - Kirsty McKelvey
Western Trust Nightingales Challenge 2020 staff profile: Kirsty McKelvey, Community Learning Disability Nurse
Tell me about yourself:
My name is Kirsty McKelvey, I am married and have a son called James, who is 18 months and have another little bundle on the way so life will be getting even busier. I qualified as a registered nurse learning disability in 2012. In 2016/17 I completed by specialist practitioner in community nursing course and have been working as a community nurse learning disability for the past three years.
Why did you chose your job?
I decided from a very young age that I wanted to work with people with learning disabilities. The primary school I attended had a special needs unit and I always enjoyed helping out in this unit when asked. I also had opportunities to volunteer in my local community groups and summer schemes and found working with people with learning disabilities so rewarding and I knew that this was the area that I wanted to work in. During my student days I decided that I wanted to work within the community sector. The community requires a diverse range of skills helping people with learning disabilities to live within community settings.
What has changed in your role due to COVID 19? Changes to services:
Our role during the pandemic has stayed the same in many ways as we are still conducting visits to carry out treatments, however, this looks completely different as we are wearing our PPE and we complete risk assessments prior to visits to ensure no one within the household is presenting with any symptoms. This can present challenges as people with learning disabilities may not understand then need and may not know who is under the PPE. We have had to show pictures of ourselves and using easy read material explain the need for wearing it. Some of our work has had to be completed over the phone which can be a challenge as some of the clients have communication difficulties and the work has had to be completed with a parent/carer without us seeing the individual.
How does your work help in the delivery of health and social care?
Over the next year or so, it would be great for services to start to return to some form of normality. Day opportunities/day care has been a vital part of people with learning disabilities lives, not only has it allowed them to create relationships with others but it has provided meaning and routine to their days and it provides families with a break during the day.
What advice would you give the public on how they can help the NHS deal with COVID 19 pandemic?
In the months ahead the public should continue to follow the guidelines set, remember to keep their distance from others that do not live in their household and wash their hands. We are all in this together.
Kirsty is one of 20 nurses and midwives in the Western Trust who are taking part in the Nightingale Challenge. The Nightingale Challenge was launched by Nursing Now – a programme of the Burdett Trust for Nursing, to improve health globally in collaboration with the International Council of Nursing and the World Health Organisation. The Nightingale Challenge asks for every health employer to provide leadership and development training for a group of young nurses and midwives during 2020, the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.