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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway.

Read the latest NELFT news, including information on our services, new trust staff, research and development of our services.

Returning to #TeamNELFT - Sharon Riju

Image of one of our Specialist Nurses smiling

At NELFT, we pride ourselves on our sense of community and ‘one-big family’ like spirit amongst employees. That’s why many of our staff who have left the Trust for personal reasons or to raise a family, often return. Hear from Sharon, who originally worked for NELFT as a Band 5 community nurse, left to pursue a different career path and then returned as a Band 6 specialist nurse, due to the development opportunities and flexible working available at NELFT.

What prompted you to return to NELFT?

I left NELFT to pursue a role as a disability assessor. I realised I didn’t have a sense of fulfilment in this role, in the same way I did while working as a nurse where I felt I was making a difference and helping someone become pain-free. This prompted me to return to NELFT, and I worked on the Staff Bank as a community nurse while looking for a suitable permanent vacancy to arise.

NELFT has always been a lovely place to work and I am glad to be back.

Tell us more about the specialist service you work in?

I work in the Respiratory Team at NELFT, which is a specialist service led by nurses and physiotherapists that manages and supports patients over the age of 18 with chronic respiratory conditions. We manage and care for patients in both a community and home setting.

What attracted you to the specialist respiratory nurse role at NELFT?

I always had a passion for respiratory, ideally working within a clinic where I could focus on the patient. I saw this specialist role advertised where they were looking for clinicians with generalist nurse experience and would pay to train you for the specialist role – this was perfect for me. Flexible working was also mentioned on the advert, and this attracted me as I could balance my work with childcare where required.

How does community nursing compare with specialist?

In my community nursing role, I found out there way always a lot of different care provided whereas in the specialist remit, I see patients with chronic respiratory conditions and if they have any other ailments/concerns they are referred to the appropriate service promptly. Patient care is still of the same standard and they are seen very quickly due to better care pathways.

How does your team support you?

Being new to the respiratory specialism, I’m receiving a lot of training. I’m well supported within my team and have a clear timetable with information about study days and the various training available.

What advice would you give to other registered general nurses?

If you work in the community and want to develop yourself, keep an eye out for vacancies that offer development opportunities and go for it. You’ll gain a lot of transferable skills that can translate well in a specialist role.

For more information about careers at NELFT, visit

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