My Job - Jacquelyn Cleaves, Dartmouth Practice Nurse
My Job - Jacquelyn Cleaves, Dartmouth Practice Nurse
Most residents of Dartmouth will undoubtedly have seen Jackie in the Victoria Road surgery, at the Dartmouth Medical Practice. She moved to Dartmouth in 1984 where she was allocated a nurse’s flat when she commenced her general nursing training at Torbay Hospital.
Jackie was born in Belper in Derbyshire but brought up in Long Eaton, a small town close by in Nottinghamshire. She went to the same grammar school as her mum and was taught by some of the same teachers!
Whilst going through school and considering career options she always knew that she was interested in people and specifically in medical and psychological issues. She studied child psychology and child development and found this fascinating.
Jackie would, however, have loved to have been a dancer attending ballet classes as a girl but this was not to be. She chose to study psychiatric nursing at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottinghamshire for 3 years as an RMN (registered mental nurse) where she worked for several years afterwards. She moved to London, nursing in a variety of mental health care situations including caring for women with a severe form of post natal depression called puerperal psychosis, a state that was much worse than just ‘the baby blues’.
Jackie remembers, “We were very lucky to have a unit where mothers could be admitted with their babies. This was pretty unusual as they were normally separated which was a terrible shame.” She also found it rewarding working with patients on wards who were both physically and mentally ill.
She thoroughly enjoyed her general nursing training in Torbay, spending time on several types of wards after qualifying including orthopaedics, trauma and A & E. Jackie followed that by Health Visitor training at Plymouth Polytechnic as it was then.
With all this depth of knowledge and wide-ranging experience, in 1992 Jackie was offered the position of Practice Nurse in Dartmouth, which she was delighted to accept. The fact that such a position encompasses such diverse needs makes it a very interesting job.
Dealing with all ages who present all manner of ailments and seek all sorts of advice, means there is never a dull moment. Taking out stitches, giving injections, travel advice, contraceptive services, gynaecological health and her particular specialisation of respiratory care and investigation are just part of her remit.
She is always very busy, always doing her best to meet appointment times unless there is an emergency to deal with. It is not unknown for a patient to collapse in the surgery or even over in the chemist’s opposite and she can be called to assist.
The nurses are also called in to help the doctors if a situation demands it so there is a need to be flexible and accommodating. As Jackie says, “It is quite challenging and keeps you thinking all the time.”
The present nursing support at the surgery includes Verna, the senior nurse, Gabby and Jackie and there are also Health Care Assistants and Nurse Practitioners. Several of the nurses are currently doing extra training and studying to improve and add to the expertise offered.
This all helps the doctors with the workload. They do a great deal of health promotion and illness prevention which is all government driven tackling cardiac disease, obesity, diabetes, smoking, child pregnancy, Chlamydia screening and much more. Jackie feels it is good that their younger patients are comfortable to approach the nurses about matters of sexual health.
Jackie’s passion for ballet has not waned over the years and in fact she does now take those lessons again! She finds it a great way to keep fit. Jackie also loves motor bikes and has had several of her own over the years including a Yamaha, Kawasaki and a Harley Davidson and found it a great way of travelling between Dartmouth and Torbay every day.
She met her partner John when she took her ‘poorly’ car to Darmech and he diagnosed serious problems with the head gasket. Now twenty two years later they are both heavily involved with animal welfare, particularly dogs.
Their own dog Harry who is well known by John’s customers is a lurcher, a type of sight hound, and since getting him twelve years ago they have become acutely aware of the plight of hounds and greyhounds in particular. These dogs are literally manufactured in their thousands for the dog racing industry. If they do not make the grade they are disposed or dumped. Even if they have been good enough to race, after five years or so they are sometimes found having had their ears cut off to remove their identity tattoos.
Jackie and John decided they must do something to help. In conjunction with The Greyhound Sanctuary in Devon, www.thegreyhoundsanctuary.org, a charity established in 2007 whose aims are to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome greyhounds and lurchers, they have been raising funds.
To this end, on Saturday 27th November in the Guildhall in Dartmouth they will be holding the World Indoor Rally Championship 2010. This is the third year they have organised this event and each year it has got bigger and better. This year there will be four huge tracks, with Open, Junior’s and Ladies Events.
It will run from 12 noon until 11pm and there will be tea, coffee, light snacks, licensed bar and music. It will be great fun day for all the family so put it in your diaries and do your bit to help a good cause in the process!
First Published October 2010 By The Dart