Meet the GPN SNN Ambassadors

The GPN Student Nurse Network has ambassadors from each region in England. Read more about the network 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



Clare Davies, GPNSNN Ambassador

Clare Davies

My name is Clare, a 3rd year adult student nurse at LJMU. I am also a student mentor and an RCN SIO/student ambassador. I came in to nursing a bit later in life, from a previous job in finance but I am so glad that I did! I have truly found my passion in nursing! It is such a privilege to be able to care for patients and to be a part of making a difference to them, even if that it is just a small one. I was a young carer from my parents growing up, I feel this experience enabled me to understand the importance of care and compassion from a very young age.

I have had both GP and primary care placements on my nursing journey, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them all, seeing the variety of conditions and the wonderful relationships you can develop with patients was lovely to be a part of. Primary care is such a different setting to wards in hospitals but one I feel I would love to be more involved in and that all students should experience. I am excited to be part of the GPN SNN in spreading the word about general practice nursing. Fun fact: I am a huge music fan and love a medical drama show. Follow me on Twitter @x_nemo_x

Jayne Bryne, GPN SNN Ambassador

Jayne Bryne

I am a third-year student nurse due to qualify August 2019 and heading into a GPN role!  I worked previously as a HCA and data administrator in a GP surgery for ten years and loved the diversity of the role.  I felt privileged to have patients of my own that I reviewed and really enjoyed that level of patient contact that you don’t get in secondary care.  Before commencing my degree, I undertook a QCF apprenticeship where I was nominated for an award for overcoming obstacles whilst completing my studies.   

At university, I had the pleasure to present to potential student nurses about the different roles available in nursing which received amazing feedback from the audience who were not aware of the potentials in nursing careers.  This led to me being nominated by a local hospital for the Nursing Times student nurse of the year awards- so grateful!   

I’m often found on placements to be sharing advice and promoting GPNs and how amazing this career path is.  I am also passionate about preventative care and am currently an ambassador for a local campaign aimed to get people more active – you can find me in my karate suit at Follow me on Twitter @jayneby85


Jenny Mather, GPN SNN Ambassador

Jenny Mather

I qualified in September 2018 at the University of Central Lancashire. My final placement as a student was at Darwen Healthcare, Darwen. The manager informed me that they were looking to take on a new nurse however I had already had an unconditional job offer elsewhere prior to starting my placement, I was also under the impression that you could not go into practice nursing newly qualified, this is also believed by many other students. I really enjoyed my placement and didn’t realise how varied the job role was. The knowledge and skills that a practice nurse has to undertake is much more than I imagined and it appeared a challenge for me.  

In 10 months I am competent in many areas of my job role – something which I thought would have taken me years. I currently undertake childhood vaccinations, travel health, cytology, injections/implants, chronic disease management, NHS health checks, venepuncture, assist with minor operations and child 6-week checks and undertake home visits. I have been involved in a project with the homeless, two digital media pilot schemes (I am now a digital nurse champion) and I am currently working with the Queen Nursing Institute on a frailty project. Recently I was asked to speak at the national digitally transforming primary care conference held at facebook HQ in London. I hope to prove that practice nursing isn’t just sitting behind a desk as many of my friends believe! I would like to share my experiences whilst encouraging and helping to bring in a younger generation of practice nurses.


Laura Thompson

Hello, my name is Laura. I am a third year student nurse (adult field) at the University of Bradford and I qualify in September 2020. I am also an RCN Student Ambassador and in my ‘spare’ time work as a first aider for an event medical company. I have had various placements during my degree including surgical, medical, intermediate care and community nursing. I was lucky enough to get a GPN placement for my penultimate placement and the experience was amazing from beginning to end. Since completing that placement, I have been able to become a GPN SNN Ambassador and I have also secured an NQN role in general practice. I feel honoured to be part of the GPN SNN ambassador team and I am excited to advocate for the role of GPN and share my passion for GPN as a career path. Follow me on twitter @LA10_07


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

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

Claire Carmichael

Hello, my name is Claire Carmichael and I am a newly qualified GP Nurse in Portsmouth. As a student I had 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 


Isabella Aku Arday

I am a third-year student nurse studying Adult nursing I am also due to qualify next year August 2020. My current job is as a Health care assistant which has been an amazing opportunity to gain a variety of experiences and enhance my learning outside of studying. I was fortunate to have my previous placement in a GP, it was amazing, and it showed me a different way of nursing. The ability to have a one to on and have time to really talk to my patients and provide care was something I was not able to achieve completely in a hospital setting. Since starting my degree, I became an academic mentor for first year students for the Nursing practice and anatomy and physiology exams. I was also part of the group of mentors which went on become finalists at the Student Nursing Times Awards 2019 for Teaching innovation of the year. Ever since I had my placement in a GP I have been promoting becoming a GPN to others because I think it’s a rewarding career and my main aim as a GPN SNN is to break the sigma about GPN’s and share my passion of becoming a GPN. Follow me on Twitter @isabella8195


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


Amber Price, GPN SNN Ambassador

Amber Price

Hello! My name is Amber and I have just completed my adult nurse training at King’s College London. Very early on in my training, I realised that I was very interested in holistic care, health promotion and illness prevention and working with communities. Before I was assigned my management placement, I hadn’t considered a career in practice nursing and didn’t know much about it. Within the first few weeks of the placement I had learnt so much, I had a brilliant mentor, an advanced nurse practitioner, who really instilled passion in me for a totally new area of nursing. Practice nursing is so versatile and you get to care for patients from the moment they are born (baby immunisations) to later in life (palliative care). In all my training, I haven’t come across a nursing role that cares for such a mixed group of patients.

I believe that in primary care you have the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives and help patients to set and achieve realistic goals.  I am from South London originally and it is a fantastic place to work. The patient group is so diverse that you encounter illnesses that you may not see in other parts of the country.  I have recently been offered my first role as a General Practice Nurse and I will be starting in October 2019. I can’t wait to begin my nursing career in general practice and am looking forward to new opportunities. Follow me on Twitter @amb_price


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


Khadijah Abdel-Illah

My name is Khadijah, I am a third year mature adult student nurse studying at the University of West London, I will be lucky to finish on the new curriculum. Since beginning my journey I have become a Mentor and an SIO for the RCN. In my first year of nursing,  a diagnostic test found out I was dyslexic which has not held me back in anyway, its not been easy with the assignments, however, I do get a lot of help. Before becoming a student nurse I was a HCA on an elderly medical ward, where I got my passion for nursing re-ignited by the amazing nurses that I was surrounded by who encouraged me every step of the way. I have enjoyed the degree very much along with the ups and downs of placements. I have had a 6 week placement in a community rehabilitation ward and ARC Clinic. But up until now the GP has been my best so far, Im 3 weeks into a 12 week placement and loving it, as I am on the new programme I am learning to take bloods and this has been a great boost to my learning objectives and the nurses are brilliant at helping me gain confidence in all aspects of nursing.

I hope to become a GP nurse once qualified and look forward to joining a great team like I have now on placement, also I am hoping to dispel the myth that NQNs are not able to become GPNs as we do not have enough experience to carry out the tasks, and can’t revalidate as we will lose most of our skills. this type of information needs to be challenged in a positive way by joining university open days, when new academic years start offering to do a presentation in the induction weeks may also be of benefit to help students understand what it is that GPNs do on a daily basis. A fun fact is that I love Bollywood and my friend is trying to teach me Hindi so I can watch without subtitles they annoy her.

Rebecca Clancy

Hello, my name is Rebecca and I am a first-year student Paediatric Nurse at London South Bank University. My journey into primary care and practice nursing began in 2003 when I started working in General Practice in London whilst completing my Assistant Practitioner qualification. I worked for many years alongside the multi-disciplinary primary care team, absorbing the wisdom and practice for GPNs and ANPs. I knew my passion was in General Practice Nursing, but the time had to be right to do my degree training.

Since then my career encompassed General Practice Management, a founding member of a tech health start-up, training in complementary therapy and pilates, lots of work across London as an Assistant Practitioner and working for One Health Lewisham, where I have been fortunate enough to be involved with the development and delivery of such projects as the NHS Health Checks programme and the 3TT Diabetes Pilot.

The Diabetes project won an HSJ award this year in the category for ‘Clinical Governance & Risk Management in Patient Safety. I was very proud to be at the award ceremony and to be part of the team.

The General Practice I work with has recently been awarded the ‘Gold Award for Pride in Practice’, the first practice in South London to achieve this. The Practice team are incredibly proud and honoured to receive this.

My work with One Health Lewisham and within General Practice will continue as I finally begin my Nursing Degree training. I have decided to do my BSc in Children’s Nursing to add to my skillset and broaden my experience. Within General Practice you are privileged to be involved with health promotion, support during illness, pregnancy, newborns, children and adults through to elderly and end of life care. I hope to use the skills and knowledge I gain to enter GPN, to train to become an ANP and to be involved with triage and minor illness as well as the full scope of Practice Nursing work

I have been incredibly passionate about Practice Nursing and Primary Care for 16 years and feel incredibly privileged to be an Ambassador for the GPN SNN. I hope to bring all of my experience to the table when helping to support and encourage GPN as a Career choice for all Nurses, including NQNs. Follow me on Twitter @bex_clancy


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!).

Vanessa Anthony, GPN SNN Ambassador

Vanessa Anthony

Hello my name is Vanessa and a first year BSc Adult Nursing student at the University of Greenwich. I am also a Student and AccessAbility Ambassador and opportunities to network with other prospective student nurses, as well as nursing professionals. Previous work experience in the capacity of various support roles within the NHS enables me to understand some of its operations. However, my role as a carer and placements in the community via my degree made it apparent where I would like to establish my future nursing career: a natural passion for advocacy and care delivery in general practice. My mentors in primary care placements have inspired me. Their holistic approach in fulfilling person centred care is amazing; the rapports built contributing to best possible patient outcomes that are understated in the community due to misconceptions. Secondary care delivery is at the forefront misplacing primary care. I have proven for myself that individuals prefer recovery in their home and community. Recently attending GPN conference further ignited my passion for general practice. Through my privilege of being a GPN SNN Ambassador I aim to influence others there is another pathway to consider. Follow me on Twitter @MsVAnthony1


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.

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