Career advice

Why community nursing is not just for older nurses

Newly qualified nurses can gain clinical skills and confidence outside the hospital setting

Newly qualified nurses can gain clinical skills and confidence outside the hospital setting 

Samantha Hayman
Samantha Hayman switched to community nursing after a role on an acute ward for older people

At the end of my first year of nurse training, I had a clinical placement with a community nursing team. I loved working with the team and went away from this placement thinking that this was the type of nursing I wanted to do.

But as I continued through my training, I heard various comments – from both teaching and clinical staff – discouraging me from entering this area of practice after qualifying.

Encouraged to favour wards over the community

Individually, I was told that community nursing is ‘for the more mature nurse’, while as students collectively we were encouraged to begin our careers in a hospital setting so we could ‘gain more skills’.

After graduating from De Montfort University, Leicester in January 2017 with a degree in adult nursing, I worked on an acute ward for older people, many of whom had dementia. I realised quite quickly that this wasn’t the role for me.

The patients needed my undivided attention, but short staffing meant I was constantly being pulled away to do other tasks and wasn’t able to spend the time with them that they needed. I often ended up feeling like I wasn’t doing a good job for my patients.

Protected time and attention for each patient

This prompted me to reflect on my community nursing placement, especially how the time and attention given to each patient was valued and protected. When a vacancy became available with a community nursing team in Leicester, I jumped at the chance to work there.

I have now been a community nurse at Leicestershire NHS Partnership Trust for two years and absolutely love my job, especially the variety of the patients I care for. I have learned so much more in this role than in my previous one.

I provide nursing care for a range of patients from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures, from those requiring support and education to those with more complex needs.

Samantha Hayman
Ms Hayman appreciates the chance to provide holistic care in patient's homes, while also
developing a wide skill set

This is true holistic care 

One of the things I enjoy most about community nursing is being able to assess each individual patient from a holistic perspective. This enables me to consider not only their physical health needs but their spiritual, cultural, psychological and social needs. I can also identify needs that the patient may not have considered previously.

I then provide supportive and educational patient-specific interventions, focusing on self-care and functional independence, which reduces the need for hospital admission.

‘With my skill set I can deliver interventions in continence care, medicines management, maintenance of PICC lines, palliative care and wound care’

We deliver care as part of a multidisciplinary team, integrated with other services and supported when necessary by specialist services with competencies in managing specific conditions.

Care is predominantly nurse-led in the community, and although my role is fairly autonomous, I never work in isolation and have a great professional support structure around me. We provide direct links to GPs and specialists services, such as tissue viability, palliative care and complex care nurses.

In my previous role I developed in-depth knowledge of one area of nursing, whereas my knowledge now spans a range of different topics. With my skill set I can deliver interventions in areas such as continence care, medicines management, maintenance of peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines, palliative care and wound care.

This has increased my confidence in my abilities and empowered me to use my judgement when providing care, not to mention the undeniable feeling of satisfaction that comes with delivering quality nursing care.

Relationships with families are just as important

Caring for families is as important as caring for the patient; families often help care for their loved ones and it is important to consider their needs too. You develop great therapeutic relationships with patients and families in community nursing, and they are always so thankful for our support.

My colleagues are amazing – we often re-group at lunch time to discuss our mornings visits and raise any concerns, which also gives us the opportunity to help and support each other – and I have supportive managers who encourage me to continue developing professionally.

The numerous training opportunities provided by the trust, many of which I have completed, include wound care, lower limb training, diabetes management, palliative care and continence care. The local university also runs credited ‘learning beyond registration’ modules.

Whether you are newly qualified or have years of experience, I would highly recommend community nursing. No two days are the same and it’s a great opportunity for learning. I love spending time with my patients and enjoy getting up and going to work every day – something I have never said about any other job I have had.

Considering a community nursing post?

For more information on community nursing vacancies and other roles visit Your Future, a recruitment campaign uniting five major health and social care employers – University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, LOROS Hospice, Rutland County Council and Leicester City Council – to recruit doctors, nurses and health and social care workers to work in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

 


Samantha Hayman is a community nurse at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

 

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