Meet the GPN SNN Ambassadors

The GPN Student Nurse Network has ambassadors from each region in England. Interested in becoming an ambassador? Read more about the network and eligibility criteria. And be sure to check out our ambassadors’ blog.


Sarah O’Donnell

Sarah O’Donnell studied at the university of Bradford, qualifying in 2014 as a registered Adult Nurse. During her time as a student nurse she was also a student representative, school representative and university senator. In her final year she was awarded university representative of the year, Sarah was also a finalist for the Nursing Times Awards.

Whilst studying Sarah also became a Care Maker, under the Chief Nursing Officer’s 6 C’s scheme, promoting the 6 C’s in practice, speaking at events around the UK and direct to student nurses.

In her final year she created and held a conference titled Learning Disability Action Aware (LDAA). The conference taught 400 adult student nurses the skills of how to support LD patients through the healthcare system.

Sarah completed her sign off placement in general practice, the passion for becoming a GPN (general practice nurse) was here developed. Post-qualifying Sarah studied a 6-month intense course in advanced nursing practice. Then went on to employment as a GPN where she has worked since.

Throughout the last 4 ½ years Sarah has championed and mentored people in general practice, and became a Senior Lead GPN within the second year of qualifying.

Currently Sarah works in practice and also leads the GPN Student Nurse Network (GPNSNN) an idea that came through her own experience and through seeing lack of support and encouragement into the GPN career pathway. The GPNSNN was made possible through NHS England backing and links in with the GPN 10 point plan. Follow her on Twitter @sarah_searz


Christy Egan

My name is Christy, I am a newly qualified adult nurse graduating from Teesside University. I am now a Career Start Practice Nurse, employed by North Durham CCG. I have a beautiful son who I aspire to work hard for. In just my first year of studying I was nominated as student of the year and was fortunate enough to attend the Shining Stars Awards as a top four nominee. I want to be the people’s voice and a role model to others, like many of my mentors were to me, fulfilling my career goals and ambitions and being the best that I can be. I’d love to make a difference and get involved in the future of the NHS and be able to make more information available to students and universities to recommend primary care as a rewarding career. Why not promote the care I went into nursing to do. I am a friendly, bubbly people person and I would love help others. My weakness is French Bulldogs, I love dogs ? Follow me on Twitter @christyegan09



Lisa Pruden

Hello my name is Lisa Pruden. I was a mature student at Teesside University and I qualified in January as Adult Registered General Nurse.  I have been very lucky to gain a position on a training programme called Florence Nurse with Hartlepool and Stockton Health Federation. This programme enables me to work in general practice while training to gain all the skills I need to be a fantastic Practice Nurse. My background is general practice where I started as a receptionist then managed to step up to a HCA. I then did the access to health and gained a place at university. I have 4 children aged 12 to 28 and I have 6 grandchildren aged 11mths to 9 yrs.  My children are very proud of what I have achieved and support me so much in everything I do.  I also have 2 guinea pigs that I love called Ginger and Mo and give me cuddles at the end of a busy day. Follow me on twitter @pruden6


Megan Riccio

Hello, My name is Megan. I graduated from Liverpool John Moores’ University just under a year ago. I completed my sign off placement whilst at a GP practice in the city centre of Liverpool. Since qualifying I have started working within the same GP practice and I absolutely love it. I get to see my own patients and I am doing things that I never imagined I would be doing within a year of being qualified! I never thought being a practice nurse was the path I wanted to take until I had the opportunity to do a placement in primary care. This is one of the many reasons why I believe student nurses should have the same opportunity as I did. I am very passionate about student nurses and primary care nursing. Having the opportunity to work within primary care setting such as a GP practice has changed my whole career plan and I feel that all student nurses need to have a placement in primary care so they can see how amazing it is.

Fun fact – I love watching medical detectives/forensic files. I am very excited about being a GPN ambassador so please follow me on twitter @meganriccio3


GPN SNN Ambassador Naomi Berry

Naomi Berry

My name is Naomi, I am currently a student nurse within a general practice and I will be qualifying from the Open University in October 2019 and I am mum to a 10-year-old daughter.

I have worked within general practice as a healthcare assistant for six years and five years prior I was a healthcare within the community setting. Working in general practice has been a rollercoaster ride but with so many opportunities and support along the way. It is an amazing venture to be working towards gaining my qualification but also working alongside the GPN scheme to gain further qualifications. I have also secured a self-employed role with a local training centre that is there to support healthcare assistants, practice nurse, GP’s and ANPs to further their knowledge. This was a role I could not turn down and my practice has supported me through this transition.

To be able to offer the support to other student nurses or newly qualified nurses through the GPN scheme would be a privilege as it helps them to understand our role and how they could work within primary care and create the networks needed to increase the amount of nurses within primary care. Follow me on Twitter @NaomiBe44702921

Poppy Hannah

Hi, my name is Poppy Hannah and I’m a second year Student Nurse (Adult) at Northumbria University. I’ve loved every minute of my course so far and been fortunate enough to have a range of practice placements, but General Practice has always been a favourite of mine. You just never know what will walk through the door!

I think General Practice is an interesting, diverse and rewarding career path, and I really love promoting a healthy lifestyle and making a real difference. I already have a role as a University Student Rep for the Students Union and am looking forward to representing General Practice in the student community too. I can’t wait to get started! Follow me on Twitter @Poppy_GPNSNN

Wendy Hoban

Hello, my name is Wendy Hoban. I am a Year 3 Adult Nursing Student at the University of Cumbria in Lancaster. I am coming into the final phase of my four-year journey to become a Registered Nurse. As a mature student I have found the course challenging and exciting. I have been very lucky in the placements I have been allocated and have had placements in General Practice in both my first and third years. My experience in general practice has been such an eye opener, I have just started to take some of my own clinics in my current placement and work autonomously which is an amazing feeling.

General Practice allows the building of therapeutic relationships and I really feel that patients benefit from continuity of treatment and person-centred care. I have a wonderful, skilled mentor who is working on a project to build better care for cancer patients in the area, she has inspired me to look at how community services, hospitals and General Practice can work together to enhance care for patients.

I am an NHS Student Quality Ambassador and also a Dignity Champion.  My latest appointment as a General Practice Nursing Student Nurse Network Ambassador is exciting and a fresh challenge. Fun Fact – I can be found supporting Wigan Rugby League club whenever my schedule allows. Follow me on Twitter @WendyHoban74 

Kristine Nicol

Lucy Duggan

Midlands & East

Amanda Cecil

My name is Amanda Cecil, I graduated from Coventry University in Autumn 2018 and went straight into the world of practice nursing.  As a healthcare assistant in General Practice for many years I was extremely lucky to be seconded to do my training.  As a mature student with a family my degree was challenging but nothing came close to the bereavement I suffered in my second year when I doubted if I would be able to continue.  With incredible support and knowing what was waiting for me at the end I found strength to keep going.  I was overwhelmed to receive a First Class Honours degree and the Faculty Award for Excellence and Dedication to Primary Care, even my dissertation was practice nursing related!  I love my new role so much, the variation, the relationships you build with your patients and knowing you are really making a difference.  I feel extremely privileged to be a practice nurse and no two days are the same.  My passions seem to vary day to day but I love wound care, travel health and contraception.  It really is nursing through the lifespan. I am proud to be an Ambassador and advocate for practice nursing and tell the world what a wonderful career it really is. Follow me on Twitter @AmandaCecil76

Cassie Smith

Hi, I’m Cassie Smith and I am a third-year adult nursing student in beautiful Suffolk. I am extremely passionate about General practice nursing, having had many ward placements where I felt out of place in all and fell a little bit out of love with nursing. At the start of my third year I was lucky enough to have an eight-week placement in General Practice, where I wholeheartedly fell in love!  Amazingly my placement Practice offered me a practice nurse position for when I qualify in July, and I cannot wait to get started. I am passionate about promoting General Practice Nursing and want to show others that it is a varied, challenging and worthwhile career path with lots of scope for progression and opportunities! I am extremely proud to be a GPN Student Nurse Ambassador and a future Practice Nurse! Follow me on Twitter @CassieSNGPN

Chris Coldrick

As a GPN SNN Ambassador, I feel able to pass on my own experiences as a student with the challenges and barriers I had in becoming a GPN. Although, my route has been difficult at times especially when the university do not really promote GP practice as a worthwhile nursing pathway for students. I choose to become a practice nurse very early on in my training. I come from a primary care background of community nursing as an HCA prior to starting my training. I came late into Nursing as a mature student hence why I wanted to use my qualification for a new challenge. I graduated in February 2015, with a first-class honour to which I am very proud of. I am happily now working as GP practice nurse which I choose to do. As a student I felt it was difficult to progress into practice nursing as university do not promote GP nursing as a career choice and some GP practices do not often consider newly qualified nurses as suitable. I had a 12-week management placement within a GP practice in Solihull. On qualification I applied for many GPN roles but in many cases had no responses However, I never gave up. I am now in a full time GPN development role, my employers first, and feel lucky to be given the opportunity but these opportunities are not widely offered. I am very passionate about sharing my experiences and promote the added value of having a newly qualified nurse within general practice. It is challenging role at times but I feel so privileged to be able to develop trusting and caring relationships with the patients and feel that I can make a difference. Hopefully being part of this project, I happy to share my experiences with others and be part of improving and raising the profile of GP nursing with both future students and GP practices. Follow me on Twitter @chrissy11244


Claire Carmichael

Hello, my name is Claire Carmichael and I am coming to the end of my second year as an adult nursing student at Birmingham City University. I have been on various placements out on the hospital wards, but all I really wanted was a general practice placement. General practice was my first choice when the university asked me for my preference list and luckily, I got it! I had always wanted to experience this setting as I had an idea that it would be a fabulous career path. In March 2018 until May 2018 I was based at the most wonderful practice with the most fantastic practice nurse who became such an inspiration and role model to me. She showed me what it was to truly nurse, she had the 6 C’s embedded into her heart each day when caring for the patients. This is when I fell in love with general practice nursing and knew it was the career path for me and now, I am proud to be a GPN ambassador. Fun Fact about me: The only instrument I can play is the spoons…Follow me on Twitter @c_carmichael83 

Jennifer Murray

I am Jen, a GPN one year into practice nursing and also one year post graduate. I am just about to finish my fundamentals of practice nurse training at Wolverhampton. I am a very fortunate, mature GPN. I think it is so important to advocate how difficult it was for me to get in practice nursing, this network is an amazing way to do so, to help those who do not know about practice nursing love it as much as I do and hopefully make it easier to enter. GPNSNN (2018) is the future image of change for new practice nurses. This group will offer intrinsic value to the future of GPNs. Follow me on Twitter @GPNJen 


Katie Dixon

Hi, my name is Katie and I’m a mature second-year student nurse studying at Birmingham City University. I am also a mum to a fabulous and fierce little 5 year old, Peggy.

I was delighted to be granted my first choice of a GPN placement at university.  There is so much to offer patients in primary care, particularly in terms of promoting health, preventing illness and giving holistic care. I also hope to dispel some of the myths surrounding GPN in that it is somehow a ’cushy’ role for a NQN or that we become ’de-skilled’. I feel that every skill I possess (especially clinical!) has improved dramatically, even in my short 8-week placement in the community.

My heart lies in GPN and I cannot wait to return for my management placement in the third year, continuing to spread the word and advocate on the wonderful opportunities in GPN in the meantime as a proud GPN Ambassador! Fun fact, I’m the shortest person I know standing in at a mighty 4ft10”! This often leads people to believe I’m a lot younger than I actually am! Life motto: Feel the fear and do it anyway! Follow me on Twitter @KatieDixonStN

Lisa Blake

My name is Lisa Blake and I will be entering year three of the nursing degree very soon!! I have a slightly unusual journey in that I am completing my degree through the Open University.

After working in my GP Practice for 13 years and gaining my Assistant Practitioner qualification at Derby University my forward-thinking employers agreed to sponsor me through my nursing degree. They were aware of the national shortage of practice nurses as well as the difficulty in recruiting GPN’s, so this seemed the perfect solution for both sides.

Gaining my degree in this way allows me to have significant time on placement in the Practice gaining in-depth experience of practice nursing through working alongside experienced and knowledgeable practice nurses.  This has confirmed my passion for such a fantastic and rewarding nursing career. I am enthusiastic about Health Promotion and feel that practice nursing gives you the platform to deliver this. I am excited about being a GPN ambassador and I look forward to challenging some misconceptions around practice nursing. Follow me on Twitter @Lisablakeyblake

Shaun Williams

Hello, my name is Shaun and I am a mature student at Keele University, currently in my second year of nursing studies. My story is slightly unconventional as I never set out to be a nurse. I initially left school with no qualifications and after a number of years stumbled into working in the social care sector. The desire to support people in a humane and person-centred way gave me the motivation to address my education. In 2017 I applied on the off-chance to study adult nursing; I was then unorthodox as I actually settled on learning disability nursing as I feel strongly about the management of everyday healthcare needs in a highly personalised manner; especially for those within society who experience the greatest amount of inequality. I have such a passion for general practice nursing as it is foremost and centre in creating equitable healthcare for all. The changing landscape of service provision also means that learning disability nursing practice is ideal to provide solutions needed to meet the health needs of the general population [especially the creative management of long-term conditions in community settings]. I am one of the 2019 Council of Deans #150 Leaders [healthcare students]. Also, I am not entirely unique as I have an identical twin.

Skylar Crutchlow

My story began virtually by accident. One minute I was providing child labour next minute I had moved on from licking envelopes to taking people’s blood! Then I was an HCA, studying to be an AP, but really was going to jump into the Adult Nursing degree. Just when I thought that was it, my graduation became an induction for the Master degree in Advanced Clinical Practice and I had committed myself to another 3 years! I am fortunate to be part of a great NHS that values nursing in the 21st century that embraces the diversity of this changing landscape.  My motivation is a deep and genuine interest in this caring profession that offers exciting opportunities to increase and develop new areas of knowledge and understanding. I see this as essential to both my academic and career development which is now particularly important as I mentor both student nurses and TNAs. Being part of the GPN Student Nurse Network as an ambassador is a true privilege! I am extremely passionate about nursing in General Practice and am keen to promote this as a career choice for all newly qualified nurses. Also I would love to give the ‘right person’ that same ‘chance’ that I was given! Follow me on Twitter @Skylar_xox

Adam Street


Aylin Yilmaz, GPN SNN Ambassador

Aylin Yilmaz

My name is Aylin and I am in my final year of studying adult nursing at University of Greenwich. I am kind, committed, enthusiastic, and patient. My interest has always been (and will be) practice nursing. I strongly believe that more nurses should come in to general practice nursing as it provides care holistically and it is an amazingly rewarding job. My interest in practice nursing has indefinitely kept me motivated throughout life, and my studies. I chose a GP as my management placement, despite the distance from my home to this GP, I still chose to come here and I am so proud to say that I have made the best decision yet. I am currently working in a GP as my management placement and so far, being here has grown my passion for GPN increasingly even more. Additionally, my mentor, who is an advanced nurse practitioner, is an amazing role model. She is great at what she does! I look up to her and hope to be like her one day in the near future. Follow me on Twitter @aylinyilmazsn


Fatima Sharifee

My name is Fatima and I’m in my final year as an adult student nurse at the University of Greenwich. I’m a diligent, committed and caring person. My interest in Practice nursing started in my second year in my district nursing placement, where I had the chance to spend a day with one of the Practice nurses in the GP. I was extremely happy to have been given my first choice of Practice nursing as my management placement. And very fortunate have one of the best Advanced Nurse Practitioners as my mentor. As a GPN SNN Ambassador, I hope to inspire other students and nurses as to why Practice nursing is the best career choice. Follow me on Twitter @sharifeefatima



Mimi Tran

Hi, my name is Mimi Tran and I am currently a trainee practice nurse in South East London. I am currently a student at London South Bank University studying PG Dip General Practice Nursing. This was also where I gained my adult nursing qualification. My first post was as a community staff nurse within the district nursing team. I was awarded with employee of the month twice consecutively and gained positive feedback from a student nurse who I co-mentored for being encouraging, patient and a role model.

Following a year working in the community, I embarked a new career as a practice nurse. My goal was to move towards primary care as I enjoy the autonomous nature and have an interest in working closely with patients to support and manage their LTC as well as having the opportunity to work with children. I have a passion for engaging with student nurses and being able to advise and support them because I see them as the future of nursing and anyone of them can make a change. My aim as GPN SNN ambassador is to promote a career within primary care by educating and supporting student nurses/NQN with an interest in practice nursing. Fun fact: I like playing badminton and can do the Mexican wave with my bottom lip! Follow me on Twitter @Mlttran1

Ruth Taylor

Hello, my name is Ruth Taylor and I am a second-year adult nursing student at University of Greenwich. In my first year of placement I was fortunate enough to get a general practice placement which I absolutely loved. Immediately after my first shift I knew that this is what I wanted to do in the future. I was recently given the opportunity to have a second placement in general practice which was really beneficial and opened my eyes to many different opportunities that primary care offers. This influenced my choice of the community route which has allowed me to move forward as a GPN SNN Ambassador. This role is a good opportunity for me to promote a nursing career for other students/ staff. Becoming a GPN SNN Ambassador will enable me to undertake a rewarding role within primary care, I also hope to promote the importance of working in primary care as well as the benefits and skills available.



Sharon Lynch, GPN SNN Ambassador, LondonSharon Lynch

My name is Sharon Lynch and I’m a final year nursing student at King’s College London. Although the majority of my course has consisted of placements in hospital wards, I find myself most passionate about my current final placement at a GP surgery. I feel very fortunate to be a student in a GP, as it was my first choice for a management placement and I’ve learnt so much already! I believe primary care is of upmost importance, as it is usually the ‘first port of call’ for patients when they’re unwell. My current mentor is a highly acclaimed ANP who has shown me the importance of primary care and has made me aspire to be the best practice nurse I can be.

I have been actively encouraging peers to consider general practice nursing, as the role is so enjoyable. The GPN SNN is a great network to help student nurses and NQNs join practice nursing! I hope to make a positive contribution as a GPN Student Nurse Ambassador.

Outside of nursing, I have been a guitarist for over 10 years and do occasional gigs in London with my band (we released an album earlier this year!).


Dawne Jones

Hi, I’m Dawne, a second year Adult Student Nurse at the University of Plymouth. I am mature student keen to make my studies as rich and diverse as possible seizing relevant value-added opportunities.  Whilst completing my Access to Nursing course I was very fortunate to shadow a Practice Nurse and fell in love with the role instantly. Since then I’ve known my heart sits firmly in Primary Care.  In March 2018 I became one of the Council of Deans of Health #150Leaders, a Student Leadership Programme designed to promote and develop leadership skills amongst nursing midwifery and AHP students. This led me to work with NHS England shortly after the launch of their e-learning tool ‘Leading Change, Adding Value’ by co-hosting a tweetchat to disseminate the framework amongst my peers.  Since then I was shortlisted for two awards by the Council of Deans for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Shared Learning’ and ‘Top #150Leaders Nurse’.

It is with this footing I hope to develop myself as a GPN SNN Ambassador and wholeheartedly promote Primary Care and particularly General Practice Nursing as a career for Newly Qualified Nurses. Follow me on Twitter @PUNC17DawneJ

Jessica Lovelace

Hello my name is Jessica Lovelace. I am a 2nd year adult nursing student at Plymouth University. I am extremely passionate about primary care being the intervention and prevention stage of health care. Preventing the escalation of long-term conditions such as hypertension, as this is the root cause of many other long-term health conditions. Actively managing this at a primary care level will not only be beneficial to the patient but also potentially taking the added pressures of the NHS and hospital care.

The health promotion element of primary care is highly important to help individuals take control of their own health and well-being. The NMC code as it states that as nurses we must recognise the contributions that patients can make to their own health. I also value that in primary care you can build a rapport with patients due to a good level of continuity within GP surgeries. I’ve always had a strong interest in becoming a practice nurse. This is my aim for when I qualify, not only will becoming an ambassador for GPN SNN help others understand the role better and realise the opportunities available, but also realise the need for nurses in primary care.

Kate McCrum

Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a second-year adult nursing student at the University of Gloucestershire. So far, I have mostly had hospital-based placements around Gloucestershire, but in June last year I organised a week of work experience with a practice nurse in the Forest of Dean, which was fantastic. This experience confirmed my interest in a career in General Practice Nursing, and I will be putting forward practice nursing as my preferred placement choice in my final year. I have become a GPN Student Nurse Ambassador, to meet likeminded people who are passionate about Primary Care and to help other students and newly qualified nurses find their way into General Practice. Follow me on Twitter @KateMcCrum

Penny Oxendale

Hi Folks, I’m Penny Oxendale, a 2nd year adult student nurse at Plymouth university. I believe that nursing is one of the most interesting and growing careers available today, and I enjoy the difference I can make in my patient’s hospital and community experience. As a student nurse, I have had the opportunity to work in a variety of medical settings and have enjoyed the experience of learning the routines in each type of facility. It gives me great satisfaction to invest my time in an industry that is expanding, and enriching patients’ lives every day. My first placement was in the community with district nurses and fell in love with primary care. I know this is where I want to work and make a difference to patients, community and fellow colleagues. District nurses play a crucial role in the primary health care. They visit people in their own homes or in residential care homes, providing care for patients and supporting family members. As well as providing direct patient care, district nurses also have a teaching role, working with patients to enable them to care for themselves or with family members teaching them how to give care to their relatives something I am passionate about. While at university I have become a student ambassador for Plymouth university promoting and advising future nurses coming into the profession and an ambassador for NICE. Promoting NICE guidance within the NHS and the university. As an ambassador for NICE, I encourage the involvement of people using health services in both accessing and implementing guidance, in order to improve the quality of care.  I chose nursing as a career because I love learning new things. As a student nurse, I am always challenging myself to keep current on medical trends and training so that I can provide the best care to my patients. Every day as a student nurse, I learn something new from my colleagues and patients, which inspires me to explore deeper knowledge of the techniques and procedures. Through college and nursing placements, my interest in and commitment to the field has become even more strong and I wish to pass on this knowledge and passion to everyone I meet.  Follow me on Twitter @OxendalePenny