Fiona Nicholls

Please briefly describe your clinical/medical experience to date?

I have been a qualified children’s nurse for 20 years now, with my experience predominantly in the Children’s Emergency Department (CED) caring for acutely unwell children and their families. In an effort to expand my knowledge, clinical skills, and improve services for children, I embarked on my journey to become an autonomous practitioner. I firstly qualified and practiced as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner for 10 years and then went on to complete an MSc in Advanced clinical practice during the Covid19 pandemic to become a Paediatric Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP). I currently work as an ANP for acute and general paediatric and young people’s services at a London trust. My role enables me to practice across all pillars of advanced practice including clinical, education, leadership and research. I enjoy working clinically on the front line, identifying learning and service needs, supporting nursing and medical staff development and making an active contribution to service improvement for children and families.

What motivated you to enter paediatric care in the first place?

Upon my decision to become a nurse I knew I wanted to specialise in child health. Growing up with little family I befriended neighbours of all ages and naturally adopted a caring role. Throughout my nurse training I was (and still am) amazed at how resilient children are and the strength of families and nurses supporting them through the most challenging of times.

How will the funding from The Evie Dove Foundation help you to advance your career and your impact/services to children?

Evie’s foundation has given me the opportunity to attend the RCN Education Forum National Conference and Exhibition to celebrate educational practices. I am proud to be supporting my colleague to present her abstract at this conference which represents a fantastic project within our Paediatric service to improve nursing education and care of the acutely unwell child through structured simulation scenarios. Paediatrics is often a small specialty within NHS Trusts and therefore these events prove invaluable to share innovations, challenges and learning to promote excellence in education, address inequalities and improve health outcomes nationally. I look forward to gaining insight into new education strategies and strengthening my competence as an educator. I also hope to make valuable contacts to sustain ongoing networking outside of these events.

How did you find out about The Evie Dove Foundation?

I heard about Evie and the opportunities her foundation provides through my Hospital Trust’s matron and colleagues. It has been heart warming to read all the Heroes statements from those Evie’s Foundation has helped to achieve their potential and subsequently improve the lives of many more children and their families.

Tell us about yourself!

I live in Hertfordshire with my husband, two children, house bunnies and lovely labrador. I enjoy the balance of family walks in the countryside and days in bustling London. We enjoy travelling as a family and the opportunity to embrace differing cultures and cuisines. I believe there are too many places to explore to visit the same place twice! Besides raising my children, my proudest achievement to date has to be surviving gaining my MSc with distinction in advanced clinical practice, all whilst home-schooling my children and working in the emergency department through the covid19 pandemic!! And my claim to fame is singing on TV with Gareth Malone’s NHS Christmas choir.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience, future aspirations and motivations?

In the future I aspire to be the best nurse I can be for the children, families and colleagues I work with. I hope to inspire, support and celebrate others in reaching their potential and goals and would love to lead a team of Paediatric Advanced Nurse Practitioners as I believe Nurses rock!