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The diversity of community nursing

Prolific community nurse Jayne Sankey has more than 30 years of primary care under her belt, but developing and mentoring staff has stayed as important as it was in 1986

Prolific community nurse Jayne Sankey has more than 30 years of primary care under her belt, but developing and mentoring staff has stayed as important as it was in 1986

Jayne Sankey, lead nurse in community nursing services at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, has developed services which help some of the most vulnerable people in society. She is dedicated to supporting her staff to deliver the best services to their patients.

Her work, which includes supporting more overnight care at home, was recently recognised when she was shortlisted in the RCN in Wales Nurse of the Year Chief Nursing Officer for Wales award.

Ms Sankey started her training at Wrexham Maelor hospital in 1986 as a state enrolled nurse, after enjoying working with adults with physical disabilities as a support worker. Soon after finishing she went on maternity leave. When she returned she became a Marie Curie nurse, working nights. ‘It was an amazing role and an excellent basis for working in the community in the future,’ she says.

‘I was caring for patients who wished to die at home. It was a diverse role, and I had to think on my feet because every patient is different.’

After five years in this position, she moved to a community nursing team. During the 12 years she spent there she took her enrolled nurse conversion course, did a diploma in professional practice and then completed her district nurse training.

She quickly secured a district nursing sister post, and led a number of teams in the Wrexham area, before taking more senior managerial roles in the community nursing service. Here she found a new passion taking on training and development needs and supporting the development of the service.

‘I am an advocate for the district nurse specialist educational route and believe it allows staff to explore their own leadership skills'

A change of structure saw her work as a matron managing three community hospital wards and managing a number of district nursing teams, before she moved to her current role as lead nurse in community nursing services. She leads about 300 members of staff including district nursing teams, intermediate care teams and a high dependency team.

Pooling resources to improved care

She has spearheaded new approaches to caring for more people in their communities and at home. One of these projects involved bringing together six local teams all focused on supporting patients at home or supporting patients to leave hospital faster. Ms Sankey held a series of workshops with the teams to find new ways that they could work together for the benefit of patients.

‘Historically the teams have different funding streams, but they all did essentially the same thing,’ she says. ‘Pooling all their resources together meant we could cover more hours in the day and provide more out of hours care, enabling us to care for more patients. It is fabulous.’

She also supported senior nursing colleagues to improve services for the growing homeless population in Wrexham. Community clinics allow patients to receive ‘wrap around’ support of housing, social worker, mental health and a community nurse along with an individual plan of support.

‘My role was around leading discussions and enabling others to use their clinical skills,’ she says.

Another development has been the implementation of an IV suite and home-based care for patients needing IV antibiotic or blood transfusion care, who previously would have been admitted to hospital. In the three years from January 2013 it is believed to have saved more than £2.2 million in inpatient costs.

Ms Sankey is passionate about encouraging the staff she manages to develop. ‘I really enjoy staff development and seeing staff progress with their roles,’ she says.

‘I am an advocate for the district nurse specialist educational route and believe it allows staff to explore their own leadership skills, and how to manage teams and patient caseloads – which enables them to prosper as a senior nurse.’

 

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