Katy Chan recently completed a Management Placement with Barbara McFadzean, District Nursing Sister in Crosshouse, Kilmarnock. Barbara is one of the first cohort of Queen’s Nurse candidates and here Katy talks about what it was like to join her and the rest of the district nursing team.
“Community nursing is at the heart of nursing. It requires a high level of clinical skill, knowledge of all specialities and compassion. The team provide continuity of care, build therapeutic relationships and take in to consideration individual preferences.
“Care is always person-centred and focused on enabling individuals to take an active role in their health, making choices that make it possible for them to live well longer with multiple health conditions. In addition, the District Nursing team play a pivotal role in palliative and end of life care. I had no idea of the complexity of care delivered to patients in their own home; it was an eye opener which I thoroughly enjoyed. They are an exceptional team who make a difference to patients and their families.
“The 2030 vision of modernising roles and public perceptions of nursing I believe need to reflect this and recognise the impact district nursing has and identify district nursing as a specialism.
“However, in reality the consensus amongst us students is a community nursing placement is less favoured or acceptable than a nursing placement in acute care where the majority of the focus lays. The University maintains this situation by having more hospital than community placements, clinical skills sessions which are more hospital focused and only facilitating two weeks with the district nurses as part of the health visitor placement.
“So, when I was assigned community for my final management placement I was not happy. I felt that community would not be a good placement in general and certainly not for my final management placement. This perception of community had been based on acute nursing staff’s lack of awareness of what DNs do and a predominantly hospital based training experience. I was desperate to change my allocation but could not.
“However, that all changed due to the wonderful team I was lucky enough to join and if I had the chance to pick my final placement again I would pick community nursing. I was able to see how patients lived, heard about the experience of their hospital stay, shocked at the bad ones and happy about the good. I reflected a lot on these conversations and felt compassion and a desire to be the best nurse I can be, as I now know what a difference excellent nursing care makes to individuals.
“It also helped that I was placed with a fantastic team. My mentors Wilma and Lauren were wonderful, as were the whole team. Barbara, the District Nursing Sister, is currently a Queen’s nurse candidate and she has brought enthusiasm, innovation and motivation to the team. She believes in compassionate leadership, making space during the day for creative thinking and mindfulness. This made it a calm place to be and a great learning environment.
“I have now graduated and waiting to start my first permanent post in the hospital but I know that in my future as a staff nurse I will make sure patients in my care won’t have such a negative opinion of community care and will always have fond memories of my placement there.”
Katy presented this gift above to the team at the end of her placement to show her appreciation