One of two Clinical Nurse Consultants for Plunket in the South Island, Jenny Faulkner’s in-depth expertise brings a valuable perspective to the Well Child Quality Improvement Project.
Being a part of the project’s steering group is a great opportunity to share information and work together, she says. “Collaboration is really important, because no one service can do everything. While the group all have different roles across the health sector in our everyday lives, we all have the same common goal of wanting to make quality improvements, to ensure better outcomes for our children and families.”
Part of Jenny’s involvement with the group includes providing an update on what Plunket is currently working on towards improvement for the Well Child Tamariki Ora (WCTO) quality Improvement framework indicators, such as timely responsiveness to midwife referrals to ensure infants receive WCTO core contact 1 before 42 days of age (Indicator 02). “This is really useful for the group and adds another perspective to our discussions, as we explore change and transformation in child health.”
A registered nurse since 1990, Jenny naturally gravitated towards working with children and young families early on. Her first job was at Grey Base Hospital for five years, working across all wards before ending up in paediatrics. After starting her own family, together they moved to Auckland, where she worked in the Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation unit at Waitakere Hospital. Jenny’s husband’s job then took them to Indonesia for five years, where she was involved in volunteer work and also helped set up a community medical clinic – which is still running today.
Upon return to New Zealand, the family settled in Nelson and Jenny joined Family Start, working with children and young families for a few years. “I’ve always leaned towards a bit of social work as well as nursing, so combining the two, I knew that community nursing was the way to go for me.” Jenny joined Plunket in 2010 and became a Plunket nurse for the Nelson/Richmond district.
Six years later, her vast background came in handy when she joined a team researching Plunket services with Think Place. “At the time, Plunket was 100 years old, so we needed to take a fresh look at the service and assess whether it was still relevant, what was working and what wasn’t. We interviewed many parents across the country, heard their voices and picked up on themes about what they really needed and wanted. It was a massive project and after it was complete, I was convinced I wanted to support Plunket towards these changes so I applied for the Plunket Clinical Nurse Consultant position and got the job So, that was my journey to where I am now.”
The role involves evaluating a variety of information to identify gaps and areas for improvement across the clinical services of Plunket, which informs the education for nurses and health workers to build clinical expertise. The role also involves the sharing of research and best practice information to ensure policies and guidelines are adhered to. “I really enjoy working with new Plunket nurses, mentoring and helping them to develop their skills. Along with training, observation and assessment, our role also includes facilitating regular team education days alongside the clinical leaders throughout the year, and carrying out in-depth case study reviews.”
Jenny says she is always on the lookout for client feedback. “If there are any issues or concerns, we want to know about it, so we can ensure people are being listened to and our services are meeting their needs. I’m really passionate about quality and consistency – I want every single family’s experience with Plunket to be a great one.”