North London Partners in health and care

Case study: Amita Shah

Amita Shah

Nurse Development Lead, North Central London CCG – Barnet Directorate

Tell us a bit about your background

I’m the lead professional nurse at the North Central London CCG, Barnet Directorate and the training hub. My role is workplace development with a focus on the practice nurses’ education and professional development. I also lead on a couple of the nursing training programmes and liaise with primary care colleagues to set up placements.

How did your redeployment come about?

As part of my usual role, I sit within the quality team at the CCG. In December I was involved with quality assuring the primary care hubs and while I was there, they asked if I would like to be involved with the vaccinations, so I started that in January.

What training did you receive?

I was involved in the initial training for health care assistants and pharmacists who had never given an injection before. We initially set up a couple of training sessions covering things like injection technique and disposal – at first virtually due to Covid, but then we did follow up sessions face-to-face.

By the time I was redeployed, north central London had developed a training programme, which is what I did. The training via Middlesex University is face-to-face, with additional training online via UCLH. The online training gives you an understanding of the two vaccinations – Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca – and potential issues such as anaphylaxis. It’s great as the different vaccinations have slightly different components and it’s important to be able to answer people’s questions.

Tell us about your experience of working at the primary care hubs

It’s been an amazing experience! People are overjoyed to have the vaccine and are so grateful, but it’s also quite emotional. I’ve seen so many people who put on their best jewellery or bought new outfits as it was an occasion for them. I remember getting my own vaccine before I started to vaccinate and that was quite emotional because it felt like it was the beginning of the end.

The team spirit is also fantastic! From the marshals to the admin staff who are booking people in, to the GP supervisors to all the other vaccinators, everybody is so helpful and supportive. When I was getting to grips with the system we use, no question was a silly question – everyone was so happy to help each other.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of getting involved with the vaccination programme?

I would say do it. The shifts are flexible so you can fit it in around work or other commitments. You will be part of this huge historical initiative, and I urge everyone to go for it!