Caring beyond the bedside
Queen’s Nurse Shorai Dzirambe on how her role has evolved.
As learning disabilities lead for a local council, I work with providers of health and social care to ensure that people with chronic conditions receive the best possible care and avoid hospital admissions where possible.
I was recently made a Queen’s Nurse, a title awarded to outstanding community nurses by the Queen’s Nursing Institute.
Around 60% of adults in the UK have a chronic condition and most have several underlying conditions. People with learning disabilities, which is often accompanied by epilepsy and mental health problems, have the additional burdens of stigma and discrimination. A nurse’s role includes raising awareness that medical conditions do not define a person and supporting people to make informed decisions about treatment.
The role does not end at the bedside. Nurses should maintain a large client support network, and try to influence health and social care policymakers and budget holders.
My role is an essential resource for home care and supported living services, care homes and their clients. I help transfer knowledge into practice, and show how to improve systems for safeguarding and protecting patients’ rights and dignity. I also mediate between professionals and organisations, and direct clients to the relevant professionals.
The role has evolved significantly over recent years – evidence-based practice is crucial, national policy developments on community-based provision continue to stimulate change in care models, and new technology means clients are more self-reliant.