Marina Crail

Job Title

Special School Nursing Clinical Team Lead

Is your role clinical or non-clinical?


What qualifications did you have when you joined the NHS?

I am a qualified Children’s Nurse and have a Degree in Nursing.

How did you come to work in the NHS?

I joined the NHS when I was 18 as a student Nurse. When I first qualified in 2000 as a Children’s Nurse, I worked on 2 different children’s wards. This enabled me to develop skills in basic acute medicine and childhood illness management. It’s equipped me to deal with stressful and changeable situations with other team members to support me. I then moved to community Children’s Nursing and worked as part of the continuing care team managing children with complex needs in their homes. After that, I moved to a Children’s Hospice where I visited children and families at home to offer respite and end of life care. I progressed to Practice Education lead for the Hospice and worked to develop skills of student nurses and wider professionals in paediatric palliative care. Finally, I moved to Special School nursing and then progressed within the team to team Leader as the service developed and grew.

Briefly explain your job

I am a Clinical Team Leader for the Special School Nursing Service.  I manage a team of approximately 25 Nurses and Health Care Support workers who support children and young people aged 2-19 years. The children and young people we work with all have severe learning disabilities and attend special education schools.  They have lots of health issues which mean they need nurses to support them to enable them to be safe in school.  We support the school staff to meet their health needs in school so they can learn and develop.

What do you love about your job?

The children and the staff I work with.  The focus is positive about enabling and empowering.  When children smile it brightens up the day. 

What is challenging about your role?

The NHS is busy….there is never enough money or staff to do everything that needs to be done. Children being sick and passing away is really sad but it is rewarding to know that their quality of life was good, even if shorter than most.

Is there career progression in your role and how would you get there?

Yes, but it’s important to be realistic and embrace every stage of your career.  Don’t run before you can walk.

What would you say to a young person thinking of joining the NHS?

Investigate all options and speak to as many people as possible. Nursing is a wonderfully rewarding career with so many options for specialism and development. You will have to dig deep and be fully invested but the rewards can be amazing.

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