Arches District Nursing Team from Belfast Health and Social Care Trust is a finalist in the Patient's Choice Award in the RCN Nursing Awards 2023
This team has been nominated by Janette Connor.
She says: ‘I have a rare disease that means I have over 200 skin ulcers dressed daily by the district nurses for the last two years. They look after other elements of my care, such as my Hickman line. They advocate for me - a voice when I’m too overwhelmed to speak for myself. I’m not a complex case when I’m with them but a person who has good days and bad, hopes and goals.
‘Before I was under their care, I was referred to A&E for skin infections multiple times a month (and I only had a couple of ulcers). In one year, I spent close to 200 nights in hospital, significantly impacting my relationships and mental health.
‘Since this team has taken over, I have had one unplanned hospital admission in two years. The disease is more active than ever, but I can now work from home and spend time with friends and family. When I went into the hospital, the team understood my anxiety and contacted all the appropriate people to ensure a smooth transition.
‘My family are reassured that I’m getting such great care at home. They can see the team has given me back my dignity and self esteem. One friend recently said I’ve gotten my spark back, lost during so much time in hospital.
‘The district nurses have gone above and beyond getting to know me as a person, my needs and what is important to me. Last year was one of the hardest, and the nurses listened, gave me space to cry, been a listening ear and even brought flowers and chocolates after a rough week. They also celebrated successes and milestones.
‘They have worked late past the end of a shift so I could shower after a hospital admission, not easy with a body covered in dressings. They knew I’d feel much better about myself. Life with this disease can be pretty hard sometimes, and people tend to give up, but the district nurses haven't. Instead, they show up with a smile and a Netflix recommendation.
‘Without them, my only option would be a long-term inpatient stay. Instead, they have given me a quality of life I’ve not had in years. Most of all, they've given me hope, encouraged me to live my life to the fullest and allowed me to make the most of opportunities despite living with this awful condition. I know that with this team of nurses in my corner, everything will be ok.’
Team lead sister Orla Glennon says: ‘We’re shocked and delighted to be nominated. It’s quite something to publicly hear the positive impact we can have on a patient’s life and overall wellbeing. In these challenging times in nursing, we are still able to provide professional holistic care.’