Admiral Nurses take on a 1,000 mile challenge for Dementia UK

Admiral Nurses Jayne and Julie both work for the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and have taken on a massive challenge for 2017; to walk 1,000 miles and raise funds for Dementia UK. Here they talk about what made them decide to don their walking boots, how they manage to clock up the miles alongside their busy jobs as specialist dementia nurses, and why it’s so important to them.

Jayne: “It was my Mum’s idea – she saw it advertised in a magazine. I think Mum knew I was up for a challenge! The 1,000 mile challenge is part of the ‘Country Walk Initiative’; you can complete it throughout the year so it’s quite do-able – and you don’t have to be a super athlete! I’m quite pleased so far; I started on 1 January and after two months I’ve clocked up almost 310 miles, so I’m definitely on track!

“I discussed it at one of our monthly Practice Development Days to see if anyone else would join me. Luckily Julie, another Admiral Nurse, said ‘yes’ and now we’ve been joined by Sue, my colleague who is an Occupational Therapist.

Julie: “Once I’d heard about it from Jayne I knew I had to join in! It’s such a good challenge to be involved in – and enjoyable at the same time. I really enjoy our walks on Practice Development Days; it breaks the day up and I feel much more awake in the afternoon!

Boot miles

Jayne: “We only count the miles we walk when we’ve got our boots on…so running around at work or home doesn’t count! I record my miles on an App called ‘Endomondo’.

I’ve always had dogs and have walked, but not in such a structured and purposeful way.

“We don’t often get chance to walk together; Julie and I walk together around the campus on Practice Development Days.

Often at the weekends, I’ll walk up to 10 miles depending how much time I have. I often walk in my local country park and I’m loving being in the countryside and getting fitter. It’s wonderful to have time to think and to look at the beauty all around.

Julie: “My husband and Cockerpoo puppy Charlie, have also been roped in and we’ve already completed nearly 300 miles, including some fab walking in the Brecon Beacons a couple of weeks ago. It’s great to do something I enjoy and raise money for such a good cause at the same time.”

Why Admiral Nursing is my chosen career

Jayne: “Although I’ve been a qualified nurse since 1991, I’ve only been an Admiral Nurse for about four years now. I have mostly worked in older adults inpatient’s services and then became a Ward Manager of a NHS Continuing Care Unit. I was successful in a secondment opportunity as an Admiral Nurse and found it so special that I decided to apply for the permanent position when it arose. I now feel I can make a real difference; it’s very personal, you really treat everyone as an individual. The challenge is how to help that individual at that time with what they are facing, depending on the resources available locally.  So, it’s really varied.”

Julie: “I trained in South Wales and then worked in Newport South Wales for a year after qualifying. Since 1990 I’ve worked in Maidstone Kent; the first 12 years as a Community Mental Health Nurse and more recently as an Admiral Nurse.

“The main reason I chose to become an Admiral Nurse was that I had always had a real interest in carer support and it felt like a great way to explore this further. The greatest challenge of being an Admiral Nurse is to give a top-quality service with an ever-expanding group of carers. I’m always looking for new ways of working without reducing the quality of care. I also particularly like running carers education courses and training for other professionals.”

Raising funds for Dementia UK

Both Jayne and Julie are hoping to raise at least £200 each for Dementia UK.

Julie: “I’ve now been an Admiral Nurse for 14 years and over that time I’ve watched the charity expand at an incredible rate; there was only 32 Admiral Nurses in the country at that point and we now have 200!

Jayne: “I hope the money we raise will go towards helping more families facing dementia to get the specialist support they so deserve.”

If you’d like to sponsor Admiral Nurses Jayne and Julie – and send them a motivating message to help them reach their big 1,000 mile target.

Please visit their JustGiving pages:

Jayne – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Jayne-Loader

Julie –  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Julie-Allen18?utm_id=25