2013,Vol 27, No 4
Amanda Munday (above left), Community Nursing
Sister, and Jane Jennion, Community Staff Nurse
are both community nurses who work for Berkshire
Healthcare. They work in West Berkshire, which is a
large rural area with a spread out population. They
aim to deliver care that enables people to stay in their
homes, rather than going into hospital.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN COMMUNITY
: I qualified as a nurse in 1983 and after three years
I went to work in the pharmaceuticals industry as
trainer and sales rep for 25 years. I always had a long-
held ambition to get back to nursing and become a
community nurse. Whilst re-training I worked as a
healthcare assistant in my current team. I am now
embarking on my next challenge, a university course to
become a specialist practitioner in district nursing. I am
fortunate that my placement is with my current team.
: I qualified as a nurse in 1991 and started my career
working in hospitals. Working as a disability nurse
gave me a great insight into community nursing, and I
decided it was something I would like to pursue. Luckily
I secured a position and I now manage a team of three in
a rural area not too far from my home.
WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
: There is no typical day! We meet at the surgery and
check messages, as these can change the plan of the day.
We then check on our more poorly patients. Planning
is important but time management is key. Due to the
diverse nature of physical ailments we deal with we have
to prioritise our time and resources.
: As a team we work very closely together to allocate
resources to plan in visits for the day. We stay in touch
with one another throughout the day as well checking
messages at the surgery.
What people don’t realise is just how fast-paced this
job can be, you have to be flexible and dynamic. We can
be examining post-operative wounds, taking bloods,
educating people about looking after themselves, looking
after dementia patients and caring for people who are
nearing the end of their life. Alongside this, we always
ensure that we respect the decision and choice of the
patient. We always plan for the day, but the day never
goes to plan!
DO YOU HAVE ONE PRACTICE EXPERIENCE THAT
TAUGHT YOU SOMETHING VALUABLE ABOUT
Always remember you are never on your own; you
are part of a highly skilled team who are your back-up
and support. They are only a phone call away and due to
the nature of the job and our dedication to putting the
needs of the patient first, you need to pick up the phone
and get that rapid response. It’s great to know your
colleagues will be there when needed.
: Be prepared and take a note of the weather. In the
last heavy snow fall I had my wellies and waterproofs
and the GP arrived at the patient’s home in shiny shoes
with his briefcase.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PIECE OF
EQUIPMENT OR TECHNIQUE THAT YOU
Your senses. Whilst my mobile and laptop are really
handy, no piece of equipment is as good as my senses.
Hearing what a patient is saying, being aware of smells
that could be a sign of infection and examining a patient
are all so important but I would say my sight is the most
valuable: looking at and assessing the situation. And don’t
forget your sixth sense, if you feel something is wrong
then it probably is. Always trust your gut instinct.
WHAT ONE THING WOULD MAKE THE MOST
DIFFERENCE TO YOUR PRACTICE?
: An integrated IT service that everyone is linked
into. We work with other care providers and having
one system which everyone uses would be beneficial to
patients as they won’t have to repeat themselves and it
will save time. It is something that our Trust, is looking
into and we think this would be a great advantage
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE/PRACTICE WOULD YOU
PASS ON TO OTHER COMMUNITY NURSES?
: If things are getting on top of you and you feel
stressed, just stop, take a deep breath and remember
what a great job you have and that you are privileged
to be making a huge difference to someone else’s life,
every day. The rewards of doing this this job outweigh
Keep it simple, communication is crucial, be
realistic and more importantly keep smiling.You act as a
selfless advocate for patients and as long as you keep the
patients at the centre of your thoughts and actions, you
can’t go wrong. People who do this job do so because
they are passionate about helping others, I thrive on
being needed and I am certainly needed in this role.