In her capacity as the newly appointed Chair of QNIS Council, Erica Reid offers an insight into her personal community nursing journey. Discussing her navigation of a shifting healthcare landscape, Erica highlights the enduring significance of community nurses and the lasting impact of inspirational role models.
It was Cathy Anne, the District Nurse, who came into our family home each week to provide care for Seanair* who inspired me to start my nurse training. During my teenage years my parents cared for Seanair at home, supported by Cathy Anne. Her nursing was delivered in the privacy of his bedroom, but what I did see was how she sat with Mam and Dad over a cup of tea – listening, giving support and guidance when needed. It was this compassion that gave them the resilience to keep caring for Seanair for the rest of his life.
*Seanair is grandfather in Gaelic
That’s why in August 1983 I left home – my family’s croft on the Isle of Lewis – to come to the mainland and start my training at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Healthcare has changed over the years with many advances in clinical science. Progress and innovations that have improved not only the way we diagnose and treat disease, but also how we care for people. What has not changed is that healthcare continues to be a service where people look after people – and most of us will take our turn as the one cared for at some point in our life.
Community nurses and midwives across Scotland play an important part in most people’s lives, participating notably throughout our journey from cradle to grave. QNIS is in a unique position to be able to support community nurses in a variety of ways, including transformational development programmes.
Now, in August 2023, four decades later, it is an honour to be appointed Chair of QNIS Council and to work alongside the wider QNIS team who continue to develop and inspire community nurses and midwives to be catalysts for improvement and advocates for social change with those they care for and their communities. Working in these communities they, like Cathy Anne, may also be the inspiration for the next generation of community nurses and midwives.
My career in nursing has provided me with opportunities that I would never have dreamt of as a young student all those years ago. As Chair of Council, I look forward to being part of the team that continues to bring undreamt of opportunities to community nurses and midwives across Scotland. To inspire them for both their benefit and for the benefit of the people they serve.