Tony Longbone, Recreational Support Worker

“Hello my name is Tony Longbone and I am currently working as a Recreational Support Worker for Derbyshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, I am passionate about raising awareness around mental health and nursing as a whole which is why I found myself applying to be our first Ambassador Nursing Now England.

For many years during my time as a leader within the Scout Movement I took every opportunity to raise awareness of mental health and my role working within mental health services, I’ve always been a person that jumps at the wealth of opportunities that are available to employees within the NHS and when we were introduced to the Inspiring The Future platform as part of preparations for our January Ambassadors 30 Day Challenge I immediately found the website and the rest is what they now call history.

When registering with the platform I was glad of the opportunity to reflect a little on what it is my role now looks like and consider all the different elements that it involves, it took my breath away a little to see the diverse range of skills that I am now using when supporting people and to contemplate how nursing has changed in itself since I took up my first bank nurse post over a decade ago. Once again those opportunities were soon available as I began search my local area and further afield for careers fairs or events, I’ve even been brave and registered my interest in attending my secondary school which is quite a scary prospect, although many of my teachers will most certainly have retired by now.

So, it’s as simple as clicking a button to register your interest for events and that’s exactly what I did. The first time I hit that button was for an event at my local college, unfortunately the event itself was cancelled but this in itself proved to be brilliant opportunity for me to better understand the process of working with the Inspiring The Future’s team and I have to say it was a real pleasure. Communications have been timely for all the events I have registered with and I have also received a warm welcome from the Schools when attending, the useful resources available on the Inspiring The Future Platform had given me time to contemplate what may be helpful in creating those important conversations.

Those first tentative steps I took in attending a Schools Careers Evening provoked a whole wealth of anxieties, am I the right person to be inspiring young people to take up a career in nursing, do I have the right information to send them away with, and most of all it’s been over thirty years since I’ve been asked questions in a school environment. Thankfully the warm welcome set me at ease and I busied myself preparing my table, banners going up all around me and other services preparing themselves, there was a real energy filling the room and before I knew it the room was filling with young people and their family or carers.

I soon began to remember what it felt like to be in that position on a careers evening; not knowing what I wanted to do whilst being faced by all these options so I began to relax and before you know it I’m sharing my passion for nursing and the opportunities that it has provided. It was a real pleasure to meet so many young people that have the desire to take up a career in nursing and I felt proud to be able to share my journey with them which I hope will inspire them to continue along their path. As the evening drew to a close I took time to reflect and I feel I had achieved the aim of inspiring our future generation of nurses through conversations with both young people and adults who wished to join the caring professions offering them guidance in education pathways or ways of gaining experience in their chosen area.”

Thanks for taking the time to write this short blog, Tony.

If you are interested in our NHS Ambassadors campaign with NHS EnglandNHS Improvement and Health Education England, either to become a volunteer or would like to invite an NHS Ambassador to visit your school, you can find out more here.