My job

Care home support nurse

Nurses in primary care will need to adapt their ways of working due to the increasing number of frail older patients, says Anne-Marie Adams

Nurses in primary care will need to adapt their ways of working due to the increasing number of frail older patients, says Anne-Marie Adams

What is your job?

As part of a wider care home support team in Wokingham, Berkshire, I help the staff in care homes, both nursing and residential, to give the best possible care to their residents. Over my five and a half years of doing this, the role has evolved to meet the needs of the staff and the residents.

Now I also take referrals and hold a caseload of patients whose care and management staff find challenging and complex.

I specialise in being a generalist and can draw on support from other disciplines in the care home support team to support staff in creating a single care plan, if help is needed. As part of this, I work with staff to consider and balance risk and, where necessary, I liaise with the local safeguarding team.

Why did you become a nurse?

I wanted to do something for society and thought that nursing was something that I would find fulfilling, challenging, enjoyable and, at times, fun.

What might you have done otherwise?

I considered becoming a meteorologist. I used to run my school’s weather station and that interest has stayed with me.

Where did you train?

I trained at St Thomas’ Hospital in London – and even now, after all these years, I still feel I am representative of the Nightingale school.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the variety of situations I get involved in, from training to giving personal care. I also enjoy examining a situation and giving a balanced and reasoned analysis on ways to manage it. I am naturally methodical and precise, so this role plays to my strengths.

These skills help me to get to grips with all the different aspects of someone’s needs, help the staff work out how to balance the risks and create an individualised care plan.

What has given you most satisfaction?

As a team we have no managerial authority in a care home so I can only effect change if the staff is engaged with me. I concentrate on building a trusting relationship with them. When a care home that has been disengaged, or even hostile, starts to work with me and respond, change and improve – that is the bit that makes it all worthwhile.

What nursing achievement makes you most proud?

Professionally, I am proud of the relationships I have built with the care homes. Staff phone me when they need help because they know they will get a considered and balanced opinion. They also know I will not judge them.

Personally, I’m proud to have been made a Queen’s Nurse – following in my mother’s footsteps.

I’m also proud that I’ve stuck with nursing. At times I’ve been tempted to give up, but each low has been a way to a better time.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

I’m a church bell ringer. It’s a skill that needs constant analysis and a methodical approach.

What advice would you give a newly registered nurse?

Manage your career to develop a broad base of experience. There will be plenty of time to specialise later. Generalising is a speciality too.

What is likely to affect nurses working in primary care over the next 12 months?

The increasing number of frail older patients, staying in their own homes and requiring support, is going to put an even greater strain on the system. Nurses are going to need to adapt their ways of working and decide where the priorities lie and maybe become more creative in the ways they manage their caseload.

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