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Crystal Oldman: We forget the extraordinary work of district nurses at our peril

Shadowing a Queen's Nurse at work reminded QNI chief executive Crystal Oldman of the outstanding and seamless care delivered by district nurses every day. 
District_nurse-iStock.jpg

Shadowing a Queen's Nurse at work reminded Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Crystal Oldman of the outstanding and seamless care delivered by district nurses every day

Last week I took some time out from reflecting on the policy and service challenges of delivering more care in people's homes and shadowed a Queen's Nurse at work.

The embodiment of excellent care in the community, the nurse supported patients to stay in their homes, often in difficult situations.

The care I witnessed was seamless: the district nursing service worked alongside carers, healthcare assistants, Marie Curie nurses and the patient's family to support their wish to receive end of life care at home.

Moving experience

Care coordination was complex. It included prescribing and managing

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Shadowing a Queen's Nurse at work reminded Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI) chief executive Crystal Oldman of the outstanding and seamless care delivered by district nurses every day 


The autonomy of working in the community facilitates nurses to be
able to develop their skills. Picture: iStock

Last week I took some time out from reflecting on the policy and service challenges of delivering more care in people's homes and shadowed a Queen's Nurse at work. 

The embodiment of excellent care in the community, the nurse supported patients to stay in their homes, often in difficult situations.  

The care I witnessed was seamless: the district nursing service worked alongside carers, healthcare assistants, Marie Curie nurses and the patient's family to support their wish to receive end of life care at home.  

Moving experience 

Care coordination was complex. It included prescribing and managing multiple medications, liaising with the local pharmacist and vicar and supporting the patient's family. 

Being a visitor in a patient's home brings a whole new meaning to the term 'partnership working'. The care delivered by the Queen's Nurse, which took place during a single visit on a 'normal' day in practice, was truly moving.

Every hospital-based nurse should try and spend a day with the district nursing service. This could help you think about how transfers of care are planned and managed, how this might change, and how risk assessments are approached.

Development opportunities

The autonomy of working in the community also shows the remarkable opportunities available to develop your nursing skills, knowledge, confidence and competence, and you may consider working in this environment yourself.

District nurses provide their service in every street, village, town and city. We forget the special nature of this ubiquitous and extraordinary service at our peril. 

Learn more about the work of district nurses on the Queen's Nursing Institute website. 


About the author

 

 

 

Crystal Oldman is chief executive of the Queen's Nursing Institute 

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