Naomi Donegan

Job Title

Senior Trusted Assessor

Is your role clinical or non-clinical?


When you were in school, did you want to join the NHS?

Yes, but not in the role I am in now. I am a registered nurse (general). I had always wanted to be a nurse from the age of 6 and I have been in the NHS for 30 years and worked in the private sector for 6 years.

Tell us about your job

A typical day would involve receiving referrals requesting an assessment be completed on behalf of a local care home: Nursing or Residential. Allocating the referrals to me or my work colleague. Completing any assessment in a timely manner: Same day or next day and making recommendations for discharge. Visiting the wards to assess patients, liaising with the ward staff / Discharge Team / Social Workers / Therapists / Doctors / Administrators / Care Homes / friends and families.

How did you come to work in the NHS?

I left secondary school with 2 ‘O’ Levels (grade B and C) and 2 CSEs (grade 1) qualifications. I required at least 1 other qualification at ‘O’ level or CSE grade 1 to be able to apply for Level 1 Registered General Nurse training. So, sadly I was unable to do this. I did 2 weeks work experience in a residential home and loved it. I then went to college and did a Medical Secretaries course and was able to do further work experience in the medical records department of the local hospital. After 2 years I applied and managed to obtain one of the few places left at a School of Nursing that enabled me to undertake my Level 2 Enrolled Nurse (general) training). Whilst waiting for this course to commence I worked in the retail industry at a local supermarket as a Delicatessen Assistant. I obtained the post of Supervisor before having to leave.

I started my training as a Pupil Nurse and qualified as an Enrolled Nurse (general) 2 years later. I completed a Conversion Course to become a Registered Nurse (general) 5 years later. I then obtained a BA (Hons) 2:1 in Critical and Acute Care and following this I studied at Masters level. At one stage I tried Apel(ing) my qualifications but this did not occur in a timely period. I did however, complete a PG-Cert in Long Term Conditions enabling me to become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner where I utilised my History Taking and Physical Examination skills and Non-medical Prescribing in a Community Matron role. I have held many roles over the years both in hospitals and in the community: Surgical / Specialist Medical / Elderly Care and Rehabilitation / Trauma and Orthopaedics / Nurse-in-Charge and Deputy at Nursing Homes / In-reach Co-ordinator / Case Management / District Nursing and I now work as a Trusted Assessor for a local Integrated Care Board (previously Clinical Commissioning Group – CCG).

What are some challenges?

It has been a challenge to become embedded as part of the care home culture. For the care homes to be open to entrusting the Trusted Assessor to complete assessments on their behalf is a great achievement. The key to this success is in the role name. Without trust my job would not be possible. The other challenge is in placing those patients that have been identified as not being easy to place in a care home. The Trusted Assessor role can help greatly with this as we are aware of those homes that might be able to manage the care needs of those patients who might be more challenging; or who have behaviours that require specialist management.

What do you love about your job?

I love meeting and assessing the patients who are all varied and have many interesting characteristics and stories to tell. Also, meeting and working collaboratively with all of those I come into contact with in this role. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to obtain and develop the Trusted Assessor role to enable a service to be provided as part of the Quality and Safeguarding Team.

Which Clinical colleagues support you?

I am based in an Acute Discharge Hub and work closely with the wider Discharge Team: Discharge Officers, a Specialist Rehabilitation Discharge Lead and Therapists. Hospital at Home also reside in the Acute Discharge Hub and consists of Associate Nurses, Staff Nurses, Sisters, Charge Nurse, Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists and a Hospital at Home Lead.

Which Non-clinical colleagues support you?

There is 1 other Trusted Assessor who works with and supports me (social worker background). Also based in the Acute Discharge Hub: Administrators, Hospital Discharge Team including social workers and care managers.

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

Yes. The Trusted Assessor roles at present consist of 1 band 6 and 1 band 7. The team is being developed continuously, so there might be further role changes in the future. But, there are many job opportunities within the Integrated Care Board.

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

Be prepared to work hard. Anything is possible with hard work. If you care about the health and wellbeing of others and want to make a difference to other people’s lives in these areas then join the NHS. No two days are the same. You will meet many interesting and diverse people and work with many skilled, knowledgeable and professional others.

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