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Anna

Anna

Community Nurse

“I really enjoyed my district nursing placement during my training and knew I wanted to work in the community.”

  • Tell us about your role. What do you get up to on a typical day/week?

    I am a newly qualified Community Nurse so I am still receiving training and being signed off for certain skills. However, I usually start the morning with several visits to diabetic patients to administer their insulin, sometimes followed by visits to take blood. I do a lot of wound care, particularly leg ulcers and surgical wounds, which I find fascinating. You learn a huge amount about wound care in the community, and seeing real improvements from good care and proper dressing is so satisfying. I also might see patients who require care for their catheters or stomas. We do a lot of assessments too, including falls, nutrition and continence, and do a lot of referrals to specialist services, such as occupational therapy and dietitians. I need to be prepared to encounter very unwell patients too, so I always carry an obs kit and conduct initial assessments where necessary.

  • What’s the best thing about working in the community? What made you choose this kind of work?

    I really enjoyed my district nursing placement during my training and knew I wanted to work in the community, particularly in Bristol, which has such a diverse population. It is the variety and independence that really appealed to me, with the challenge of having to manage my own caseloads. You get to see people where they are often happiest, at home, and you get much more of an insight into them as a person. Also, we have a number of patients receiving palliative and end-of-life care at home, which is something I am very interested in learning more about and is a really valuable role of community nursing.

  • If you have worked in a previous environment, e.g. acute, how does this compare to working in community health?

    I feel that in the community you get to do a lot more for your patients than solely meeting their clinical needs. Because I am able to focus on individual patients during each visit, I can spend time assessing their wider needs, for example whether they need carers to help them, or mobility and pressure-relieving equipment, and dietitian or continence referrals. I have the privilege of being able to focus my attention on one patient at any one time, which you don’t really have in the hospital.

  • Describe the working culture here?

    My office, Amelia Nutt, is so friendly and I felt like I settled in right away. Everyone really works well together, ensuring the workload is fairly distributed and helping each other out. It’s an informal environment, where discussion and questions are really encouraged, which has helped me a lot being a newly qualified nurse. The staff really care about their patients, which is lovely to see, and very motivating. I actually couldn’t have asked for a nicer place in which to start my nursing career. They are also very sociable too, which is an added bonus!

  • What do you think makes someone successful here?

    A willingness to pitch in and be patient focused. Also to know when to seek advice from experienced colleagues at all levels. Knowledge-sharing is so important in ensuring we provide the best evidence-based care for our patients. Embracing the challenge of caring for people in quite complicated social environments is an asset, as well as an ability to not focus solely on individual tasks, or obvious issues. BCH offer a lot of training, which we are encouraged to take advantage of, and anyone can be successful if they are looking to develop their professional and clinical skills.

  • Tell us about the learning and development and career progression opportunities?

    There is so much training available, in clinical skills and in professional development, for example mentoring and managing staff, assertive communication and personal resilience. We are encouraged to enrol on training workshops, and are then supported to get signed off on skills in practice. Newly qualified nurses are automatically enrolled onto the BCH preceptorship programme, which provides day-long interactive sessions over 3-4 months with fellow newly-qualified. We cover things like how to manage challenging conversations and clinical decision-making. We also have a number of core competencies to work towards and get signed off in our first year, so we have clear goals and expectations. There is a real mix of people at various stages of their community nursing careers at BCH, including those who have qualified in recent years now working as Team Leaders, reflecting that the opportunities are there if you want to progress.

  • What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?

    Definitely seeing people in their own homes, with their own comforts and familiar things around them. Home is where most people want to stay, and so it is very rewarding when we can provide good quality nursing care where people are happiest and most comfortable. Also being able to really get to know a lot of our patients is lovely, and takes the value of our service beyond a solely clinical one.

  • What do you think patients would say about the service you provide?

    I think our patients would say our service is essential to their well-being and health, and provides them with confidence that their health issues are being well managed. A lot of my patients enjoy the social aspect of our visits, and I like to think I brighten their day a little bit as they certainly do mine.

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