Journal of Community Nursing - page 11

2013,Vol 27, No 4
In each issue of the
Journal of Community Nursing
we investigate a hot topic
currently affecting our readers. In this, our re-launch issue, we take a look at
the changing face of care provision in the UK with the question...
ommunity nursing is changing.
In January this year the
government set out its new
‘vision’for district nursing (
New vision
for district nursing
, Department of
Health, 2013), aimed at making sure
district nurses in the UK are ready
to cope with an ageing population
with longer lives. This new era will
apparently involve district nurses
working more closely with other
agencies such as GPs, to integrate
health and social care, and support
patient choice.
Unfortunately, while the govern-
ment is cheerfully changing the face of
district nursing, the BBC reports that
the numbers of district nurses has fall-
en 40% in the last decade
— citing longer hours and exces-
sive form-filling as prime motivators.
Similarly, a Queen’s Nursing Institute
(QNI) report reveals widespread con-
cerns about the number of applicants
for district nurse training, claiming
numbers are nothing like the‘replace-
ment level’required to maintain the
workforce, which is haemorrhaging
numbers, mainly through retirement.
Who is today’s community nurse?
In Scotland there is a focus on providing
safe, effective and person-centred care. Better
partnerships between agencies such as the
NHS, social services, third sector and private
organisations are key. Community nurses
must look for opportunities to enhance their
role within these partnerships.
Anne Williams
Lymphoedema Nurse Consultant and Researcher, Blantyre, Scotland
What the
hears from
all over the country is that
they are under increasing
pressure to manage large
numbers of patients with
increasingly complex needs.
The expectation is that
nurses will absorb the extra
workload — and they do —
by cutting meal breaks and
working longer hours. This
cannot be sustained long
term. Investment in recruiting
and training community
nurses needs to happen
now. Such an investment
in district nurse education
will help in the development
of the community nursing
workforce needed to deliver
an increasingly complex role
in the most challenging of
Anne Pearson
Practice Development Manager,
To combat this, trusts are advertis-
ing a slew of community nursing posts
to fill gaps in winter care provision
and universities are recruiting regis-
tered nurses to specialist community
nursing courses at MSc level.
At a time when the government
is keen to encourage care closer to
home (
Delivering care closer to home:
meeting the challenge
, DH, 2008), the
prevalence of chronic conditions such
as diabetes is on the increase, and
lifestyle factors such as obesity are rife,
there seems to be an ever-growing
army of community nurses being sent
out onto our streets.
Even the briefest trawl of the
internet reveals a plethora of job titles
— community public health nurse,
district nurse, community matrons —
and that’s before we get onto the spe-
cialists, the continence, wound care,
respiratory and palliative nurses.
So, in a changing healthcare land-
scape, we asked some of our readers
what they see as the future of commu-
nity nursing, and how they view their
own role…
Community matters
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