The Department of Nursing & Community Health at Glasgow Caledonian University has a long standing history of educating nurses to work in the community and with the QNIS, both within our undergraduate pre-registration programme as well as our SPQ District Nursing and SPQ Health Visiting programmes. Our programmes are influenced by the university vision of the common good, having a global reputation for delivering social benefit and impact through education, research and social innovation. We embrace person centred quality care, promoting the health potential through education and partnership working with individuals, families and wider communities. This is very much echoed in the QNIS movement for social change, improving health and liberating women. We are therefore delighted to nominate students from GCU for the QNIS prizes. The QNIS brings community nurses together to share good practice, promote leadership, research and education all of which align with our department nursing programmes and for our future nurses.
I am honoured to have been chosen for the QNIS award. Particularly given how challenging 2020 has been.
Nursing has never been so testing, with every ounce of energy being used to provide the best care we possibly can give, in such worrying times.
Not only have we been challenged as nurses in our role, but also in our private lives. Some of our team have made the choice to live out with their homes in order to protect their own families.
District nursing has been a lonely place to work during the pandemic. We have all been working out of our cars in order to reduce footfall on our bases. We have utilised resources such a Microsoft teams to maintain team communication, however, a teams meeting online doesn’t compare to being face to face with colleagues. Despite this, we have powered on and continued to provide the gold standards in care, ensuring our patients are safe.
Studying while working has been something I never thought would be possible. The encouragement of the university staff has been incredible. The support we were shown to enable us to continue on with our SPQ was immense. Without their quick adaptation of course material, and enabling access to online learning we would not have been able to continue on. As students, we clubbed together and worked as a team to support each other through the struggles of studying and working full time. Again, the university staff guided us through the murky waters, and we emerged as qualified SPQ Advanced Practice District Nurses. The pride we all felt for each other was indescribable.
To have managed to complete the SPQ with a distinction, was an amazing feeling. To have received the QNIS award was just a wonderful feeling. It is an honour to have been recognised.
I am so very grateful to the QNIS for awarding me a Student Academic Prize in 2020, and feel privileged to have been nominated by my lecturers at Glasgow Caledonian University to receive it. I see this award as a great stepping stone on which to start my career as a District Nurse, and moving forward, I will work hard to ensure I earn it.
This past year has been quite unlike any other… Growing up, never did I dream that one day, I would be part of the NHS frontline fighting a global pandemic. Nursing as a career wasn’t something I’d ever really thought of – instead, it sort of chased me down! I had always thought Medicine was for me, but being confronted with the loss of a parent as a teenager forced me to reassess what was important. I knew that kind of Medicine was now not the sort I wanted to deliver. I moved to London when I was 18 and enrolled in Drama School; while this ‘scratched an itch’, I knew too that it wasn’t the path I was meant to take. I remembered the kindness, confidence and quiet efficiency of the Clinical Nurse Specialists, the ward nurses, the District Nurses, and felt the pull.
I loved being a student nurse, at University and the wards, but it wasn’t until my community placement that things clicked into place. Being able to assess and treat patients in their own homes – what could be better than that?! The goal was set. I stayed on at University to complete my Honours year and worked for two years in an acute medical ward to learn my craft and build up my knowledge, skills and confidence. I got my first Community Staff Nurse role in 2006, and have never looked back. I love the diversity, the autonomy, the very essence of nursing patients in their own home environment. I love that a patient has my full, undivided attention for the duration of their visit. I love that I am able to extend that care to the family as a whole when they need support and not just the patient.
After nursing in the community for thirteen years and with the encouragement of my family, I applied for the PgD Advanced Practice in District Nursing. Wow – what a learning curve! Our small cohort grew closer together, shared experiences and learned together. Then, we were thrown a curveball in March 2020, when the national lockdown closed the University and home learning commenced… Home-schooling two children, while being taught by my lecturers online was an experience! But we community nurses are, by nature, adaptable, and our cohort rose to the challenge. Our lecturers, all experienced District Nurses themselves, threw everything into online teaching. Their passion never diminished on the computer screen, and they lifted us through those last challenging months. Practice adapted too; learning experiences were shaped by new, innovative ways of working in the community.
My post-graduate education in District Nursing has enabled me to become more critical in my thinking, has improved my clinical decision-making skills and helped me apply enhanced leadership within our team. I strive for excellence in my own practice and want to support that in others, too – the QNIS award has given me more confidence that I can, and will deliver this. Thank you for this award.
I was so shocked when I found out that I had been awarded the QNIS award, as I did not know I had been nominated. To know that my passion and dedication towards community nursing had been recognised and acknowledged was such a great achievement for me. To be awarded this prize by the QNIS at the start of my career in community nursing is so inspiring and has given me confidence in my newfound role. At university, a lot of the work and placement experiences are based around Acute care which is great at providing overall nursing knowledge and skills. However, things are changing within health and social care and I want to use my experience and QNIS award to show other future students the pivotal and important role that community nursing has within our healthcare system and inspire these students to create new learning opportunities around this.
Community nursing has always been of interest to me mainly as I wasn’t entirely sure what the role entailed and wanted to learn more. I was allocated my community placement in 2nd year of university and that was a HUGE turning point for me as it ignited my passion for community nursing. Community nursing to me is truly person-centred, as you get to know patients in their own environment and take their lead when it comes to care. It’s a journey, and sometimes that journey has a happy ending, and sometimes it’s sad. The fact that you took the journey together, worked with one another and had the chance to give the best care you possibly could is an absolute honour and privilege that I will never take for granted.
I would like to thank Glasgow Caledonian University for facilitating this nomination and my mentors Jennifer Noonan and Julie Findlay who saw my passion encouraged me and gave me the opportunity to grow as a student nurse. I would also like to thank the QNIS for this opportunity, as it truly is an absolute honour and I will be forever grateful.