Kate shares her return to nursing journey

Kate Williams completed her undergraduate degree in nursing from BU in 2008. Kate worked within health promotion before taking on a commissioning role. She returned to BU in 2022 to complete her return to nursing practice.

“During my career, I’ve seen many sides to the health and care system, gained a Master’s in commissioning, and my last role was as the Associate Director of the Vaccination Programme in Somerset.

“I qualified as a nurse in 2008 and then worked in health promotion before working as a commissioner, it was then that I let my registration lapse. My career in commissioning and operational management took me to London and then to the Southwest. And, although I remained within the NHS continuing to work with my nursing colleagues, after leaving I had a feeling of something being missing.

“When the pandemic hit, those who could return to the frontline did so and there was a real calling within me to return and support them. I worked very heavily on the vaccination programme and always felt that I could be contributing more. The colleagues I worked with on the programme was the environment that gave me the push I needed to return to practice.

“It was a big step to leave the safety of my career, as I had progressed greatly and the thought of leaving an organisation I had worked for, for many years was of course daunting. But feeling held back, I took the steps I needed to be where I wanted.

“The actual process and the course were brilliant! I felt very well-supported by the university and my employer. The course was excellent for meeting people who were in a similar life stage as me, and we all went through the process together.

“The course helped us to ease in gradually, re-familiarising ourselves with clinical practice and clinical skills. The teaching staff were very good at not overwhelming us and supporting us as much as they could. This opportunity is one I am most grateful for.

“Now, there are a few roles I have that I try and squeeze into a working week! I am a part-time practice nurse in a busy surgery – a wonderful learning curve to relish in training and lots of opportunities. I am also the lead nurse, so I take on more strategic and managerial responsibilities for the nursing team.

“The other part to my role leans on my management expertise, bringing primary care as Head of Clinical Programmes for Somerset Primary Healthcare. So, I now get the best of both worlds in being a clinician but also providing management to key clinical issues for primary care and bringing skills gained outside of nursing into my current role.

“I spent five years debating with myself to re-join the register and I’m slightly kicking myself having not done it sooner. The wealth of experience you bring back into nursing or the NHS is invaluable and those skills you had will all return as soon as you put the uniform on; once a nurse always a nurse!”