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A Dorset nurse's education grant journey

Jude Harford is a paediatric practice nurse working in Poole, Dorset. In spring 2021 she applied for the RCN Foundation Wessex Grant in order to undertake an Examination Of The Newborn course starting that September.

Her application was successful, and in June 2022 an article she wrote on undertaking the six-to-eight-week infant examination has been published in the Journal of General Practice Nursing.

Here Jude shares her reflections on how the Wessex Grant enabled her to develop her professional practice:

I chose to do the Examination Of The Newborn course in order to develop my role as a paediatric nurse within primary care. There are few nurses currently undertaking this work and I felt it would be not only excellent personal development, but also help to progress the role generally. 

Being able to undertake the six-to-eight-week infant check at the time of immunisations has enabled me to take a more holistic and streamlined approach to care. Rather than having a separate GP appointment, the examination and immunisations can be done at the same time.

I found that my knowledge as a paediatric nurse and health visitor can be used throughout the consultation to identify and address any concerns, and as I see the babies for subsequent immunisations it allows continuity of care and the opportunity to follow up any areas of concern or things that need monitoring. 

My own personal and professional development has also been enhanced through greater knowledge gained of specific issues pertinent to the newborn and infant. This includes impact of prenatal and perinatal health, and specific examination skills needed for the role.

Personally, it has also given me greater job satisfaction as I am able to give a greater depth of care, and it has stretched me intellectually.

Writing the article for publication in the Journal of General Practice Nursing allowed me to consolidate some of the knowledge I’d gained. I wrote about the development of the role of the nurse in primary care, and how taking on new skills is helping to push the boundaries of nurse development.

It’s been great to share my experience this way, and hopefully inspire other nurses to develop their skills in this area. I particularly hope to encourage paediatric nurses into primary care, as we are a rare breed!

About the RCN Foundation Wessex Grant

The RCN Foundation Wessex Grant is a limited education fund open to General Practice Nurses working in Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

To find out more and begin an application for a course of study starting in September 2022, please get in touch with Katie Slater at