Student Nurse Sarah Wilson tells us how a day working in the community looks.
A quote from a district nurse that I read in an article before starting my management placement in the community inspired me to think about the true meaning of community nursing.
Jan Laskey (2014) stated: “I love being a part of a person’s life, supporting them and trying to find solutions to difficult situations. You always get to know patients differently in their own homes. I truly believe that meeting the patients family, especially any pets is really important. I always introduce myself to a cat or a dog to start with, and then I build a bond with the person. I love to hear their stories and share their happiness and sadness”.
Being a student nurse in the community involves being aware of the basics in care such as compassion, communication and initiative. This way, taking it step by step and day by day it allows you to build confidence in what you are doing and treating your patients and families. I have most certainly learnt from the previous quote from Jan Laskey (2014) and my own experience as a student nurse that you are not only caring for your patient, you are caring for your patient and any surrounding family, as they are always a big part of their lives.
Beginning your day in the community, it comes down to prioritisation of tasks and delegating patients to visit. There are times later on in the day where it feels very task orientated, as tasks such as ordering continence and wound products are necessary to provide patients with the appropriate stock of necessities they need to cope at home. However, as soon as you enter the patients home, it is all about person centred care and anticipatory care. Using ongoing holistic assessment is essential in community nursing; this includes assessing the environment and the safety of the patient. It is important not to forget the safety of yourself and your colleagues, as you are in someone else’s home which can potentially pose unknown risks. Thus, I have learnt that community nurses’ must be especially good at multi-tasking at the same time as having good observation skills and the ability to implement preventative measures that are needed to avoid unnecessary hospital admission.
The aspect that I have enjoyed most in the day to day life as a student nurse in a community, is the opportunity to build strong nurse-patient relationships and provide compassionate care to those that need it most. I believe that having this opportunity to care for patients in their own homes is such a privilege, where they are still vulnerable and in need, and are willing to receive a helping hand from a person training to be in a profession that ultimately will always care about the small insignificant things as well as the bigger picture.