A Queen’s Nurse candidate has spoken during a debate focusing on wellness at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Congress.
Jess Davidson described her experience working as a police custody suite nurse during the meeting in Liverpool.
In the matter for discussion submitted by the RCN Public Health Forum, Congress looked at treating and preventing illness rather than creating wellness.
Heather Henry from the Public Health Forum, who proposed the item, started the debate by saying managing illness and creating wellness are two different things.
She asked Congress: “Are we managing illness and creating dependency on the NHS?”
Many nurses then took to the stage to speak of their personal experiences, including Jess Davidson, who shared details of her project Sunday Choices – funded by the Queen’s Nursing Institute of Scotland’s Catalysts for Change programme in 2015/16.
Her project created a bespoke outreach service on Sundays for people in custody who wanted to engage with treatment programmes.
Speaking during the debate, Jess said: “We have people who are very marginalised and disenfranchised coming into police custody.
“By Sunday afternoon, we’ve medicated, they’ve had a chance to reflect, they’re not feeling so bad and a significant minority of these people wanted to engage with services.
”I felt that they weren’t well enough at that point to engage with the medical model, and so we started Sunday Choices.
“After very little funding, 35% of the people referred to us in this way are now in wellness programmes within the community and as a result this programme has become a recommendation by Public Health and a priority for Police Scotland within custody.”
As a final comment to Congress, she said: “We need to think upstream because we have many marginalised and disenfranchised people in our care.”
Jess is currently on a nine-month development programme working towards becoming one of the first Queen’s Nurses in Scotland for 50 years.
The Institute has reintroduced the title as part of its commitment to promote excellence in community nursing to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.
The 20 community nurses come from across Scotland and are currently working on projects which are designed to enhance the care they give to those they work with.
Jess’s project seeks to address the four pillars of health inequalities within police custody – violence prevention, alcohol and drug use, mental health improvement and reducing trauma.
Watch the debate and see further coverage from the RCN Congress here