Hear from the winner of the QNIS Postgraduate Community Nursing Prize, who picked up her award at the Queen Margaret University event on May 25.
Lynn Weir, Postgraduate student in the Theory and Practice of Person Centred Care, Community Nursing – Queen Margaret University.
It was a real honour to win the Queens Nursing Institute Scotland Postgraduate Award in Community Nursing; it has inspired me to enhance current standards of excellence within the community domain, working within the Person Centred Framework (McCormack and McCance 2016).
Having undertaken an Honours degree in Sociology, I have always had an interest in exploring the values and beliefs of different cultures in society. This stimulated an interest in the career path that I wished to pursue, working with people in the community.
On graduation I chose to work on a Dementia Project as a carer; the experience has instilled in me a passion for considering the needs of all those at the centre of the care process. It was a natural progression to enter Adult Nursing, working within the Respiratory domain at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
From my days as a student nurse I knew that I would work in the Community setting. I have been fortunate to work in Community Nursing in the Tweeddale area for the last 12 years. I welcomed the opportunity to undertake Post Graduate study at Queen Margaret University to develop my role as a Specialist Practitioner District Nurse. The person-centred leadership attributes that I observed in my Practice teacher, Jeanette Forbes, are something I would hope to replicate with staff and patients alike as I enter my new role in NHS Borders.
In March 2017 I attended the QNIS conference “Conversations that change lives.. and build communities” with my trainee SPDN colleagues. I found it a truly inspiring event, listening to the presentations by Clare Cable, David Reilly and Thomas Monaghan among other motivational speakers. The Conference marked a turning point in my career development. It prompted me to critically reflect upon my own practice; with consideration given to how I can develop more person-centred ways of working at a local level. This can be using simple tools such as the power of conversations and listening to what really matters to our colleagues, patients and their families. The experience encouraged me to strive to promote evidence-based practise and encourage standards of excellence in Community Nursing. I consider this to be everyone’s responsibility, working collaboratively and inspiring others.
I am a compassionate nurse, always mindful to consider all those at the centre of the care process. We have been fortunate throughout our postgraduate programme to spend time with Professor Brendan McCormack and Dr Caroline Dickson. The emphasis they placed on the importance of working towards person-centred outcomes such as health and wellbeing has encouraged me to write various proposals to develop as a Specialist Practitioner District Nurse. I was privileged to study alongside my colleagues on the postgraduate course, we learned so much in our interactions, both academically and in supporting each other. I am keen to transfer much of my new learning into the practice setting.
I have a particular interest in addressing inequalities in health in the community, linking with the more vulnerable groups in communities. Through health needs assessments in my locality I have identified informal carers of the growing number of people with dementia as an isolated sector within society. Having strong support ties and links in the community I feel Community Nurses are well placed to reach out to these groups. I am aware of the plethora of resources available in my locality to support informal carers but realise that for various reasons they are not always being accessed. Entering my post I have already made links with carers, Borders carers centre and the third sector, establishing collaborative ways of working in which we can promote resilience and health and wellbeing in communities, addressing inequalities in health.
The pressures and challenges faced by Community Nurses today are well documented, The Queens Nursing Institute (2015) and Kings Fund (2016). Through practical experience I am aware of the many challenges that we face on a daily basis. I feel, however, that the skills I have learned through person-centred practice have given me the tools to undertake practice developments both within my team and the wider community. For me person-centred practice is about considering the needs of all those at the centre of care, implicit in this is respectful working relationships with our colleagues. By critically exploring and challenging our own values and beliefs we can create a shared vision as to how we can enhance our practice.
Winning the QNIS post graduate award has inspired me to focus on the many positive aspects of community nursing and I feel passionately that we must celebrate what we do well, working together with all sectors in the community for the benefit of our patients and each other as professionals.
Lynn Weir, Specialist Practitioner District Nurse for NHS Borders.
MCCORMACK, B. and MCCANCE, T. 2016. Person-centred Practice in Nursing and Health Care. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell
THE KING’S FUND. 2016. A quality framework for district nursing. [online]. [viewed 6th June 2017] Available from: http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/media/District_Nursing_Quality_Framework_Slides.pdf
THE QUEENS NURSING INSTITUTE. 2015. The value of the district nurse specialist practitioner qualification. [online]. [viewed 6th June 2017]. Available from: http://wwwqni.org.uk/docs.SPQDN_Report_WEB2.pdf