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Meet Karen Swanson

About Me

“Hello, I am Karen and I work as the Regional Clinical Lead for the North Region.  I came to Helping Hands in June 2020 and am enjoying using the skills I have developed in my nursing career over the past 35 years in a variety of different settings.  I enjoy meeting customers and carers from all walks of life, with no two being the same.  Having worked in a hospital environment throughout my career I decided to move away from hospital work and moved to Helping Hands and my work here has exceeded my expectations.  The work I undertake to support carers and ensure that we provide the highest standards of care at all times is very rewarding and I am enjoying the teaching element of this work as well.  My role in Helping Hands is very different from any hospital role I have had, and it enables me to offer a different way of providing care and support, which I thoroughly enjoy.”

Career Pathway and Professional Development

“I undertook the integrated registered nurse training course at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, completing the adult component at Poole General Hospital in Dorset and qualified as an adult and sick children’s registered nurse (SRN/RSCN) in 1984.  I then worked in the respiratory unit at Great Ormond Street caring for children with a wide range of respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis, asthma and children with genetic conditions.  Following this I worked at University College Hospital in London and worked as part of the nursing team on a large unit which provided care to children of all ages.

“I then spent time in Central America with VSO (voluntary services overseas) and then moved to Canada where I was the founder member of the ADHD Parents Support Group in Prince Edward Island and ran an on line book business, selling resources to schools and parents relating to ADHD.  In 1997 I returned to England and completed a refresher course for nurses before being offered a post at Southampton General Hospital.  Whilst at Southampton I worked on the day care unit and then on the medical unit, providing care for both medical and surgical patients with a wide range of conditions.  During my time in Southampton I completed a teaching and assessing course and was a mentor for nursing students, providing training and support to student nurses.  Whilst working in Southampton I obtained an MA in Medical Ethics and Law and worked with the consultant group to oversee the creation of policies and guidelines within children’s services.

“In 2010 I moved to Yorkshire and worked for the following ten years in a hospital for adults within the independent sector, gaining further experience in care management.  At this time I was the Governance Lead, responsible for overseeing the hospital’s annual audit schedule and working closely with both operating theatre and ward services to maintain high standards and ensuring compliance in all areas of nursing practice and working closely with CQC.  I became a Dementia Champion and helped to identify areas of improvement to support patients with dementia who were admitted to the hospital.  I also supported the hospital to put in place a system to support patients who lacked capacity, ensuring that decisions made were always in the patient’s best interests.”

Why I chose Helping Hands

“In 2020 I moved to Helping Hands and am now overseeing the care needs of our clinical customers in the North Region.  I support carers and provide clinical training when it is needed and monitor the clinical care given by our carers, linking closely with the families involved to ensure that all care given is tailored to the individual customer and that the best care possible is being provided.

“I have met so many interesting people since joining Helping Hands, both customers and carers, and I love being part of their journey but the best part for me is the satisfaction that comes from being able to make a positive difference in the lives of my clinical customers.”

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