Putting your best foot forward to combat social isolation
Advanced nurse practitioner, Clare Mechen on why a simple gesture can make the biggest difference to your day.
What is your job?
I currently work as an advanced nurse practitioner and clinical nurse manager for The Adam Practice in Dorset. My job combines a clinical aspect, treating patients autonomously, and leading others to support and develop the practice nursing team.
I am also the clinical lead for The Best Foot Forward Leg Club and recently appointed clinical development nurse for the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation. Nursing staff and volunteers work together to provide holistic care to patients with lower limb conditions.
Why did you become a nurse?
Even as a young child, I wanted to look after people or animals. I was always bandaging our family dog and treating her! After leaving school, I was offered a hairdressing apprenticeship. However, I decided it wasn’t for me and applied for nurse training, and never looked back.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting a wide variety of people and being able to make a difference in people’s lives. Where possible, encouraging self-care or guiding people to manage their own health conditions and illness.
How does your current job make use of your skills?
Clinically I work autonomously, assessing and treating patients in practice and as a non-medical prescriber I am able to complete the ‘care cycle’. I utilise leadership, change management skills along with a large degree of tact and diplomacy within my Leg Club lead and nurse manager roles.
What might you have done otherwise?
Working with animals in some way, possibly as a vet or veterinary nurse.
What is your greatest challenge?
Completing my BSc and non-medical independent prescribing. More recently being a ‘change agent’ to develop our Best Foot Forward Leg Club.
What has given you most satisfaction?
When a patient thanks you – a simple gesture can make a difference to your day. To still seek new challenges in my work, and feel you can make a difference in some way to people’s lives. To witness transformation of people whom have been social isolated and feeling empowered to make decisions in their own care.
What nursing achievement makes you most proud?
To witness the success of our Leg Club and hear the buzz of the chatter and see nursing teams interacting together with the patient at the centre in order to provide holistic care. Also, winning several awards enabling me to attend international wound care conferences and being a finalist for the RCNi Nurse of the Year 2017.
Outside work what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy an active life, spending quality time with my family, particularly in our motorhome somewhere near the seaside. Walking our dogs is a daily relaxation – we live in a beautiful part of the country and try to enjoy the beach all year round.
What makes a good community or primary care nurse?
Being a good listener and skilled history-taker. In surgery, you have limited time to be able to undertake a holistic assessment. The advantage is you do get to know your patients and families.
What advice would give a newly-registered nurse?
Gain exposure to a variety of areas of nursing and take any opportunities that come your way.
What is likely to affect nurses working in primary care over the next 12 months?
In the next few years, we will need to work more integrated. Care will move more into the community giving us more opportunity to combat social isolation. The biggest challenge will be delivering the changes with limited resources and funding. However, we should ensure the patient remains at the centre.