My name is Esther and I’m a district nurse.
Community care is important to me as it fully aligns with my values of looking after the whole person, providing holistic care, and understanding somebody within their own setting. If we can treat people at home and keep them out of hospital that is good for them and good for the hospital system.
I do this because it provides me the opportunity to care for patients and make a difference to the quality of life they have at home.
I came to England as an overseas nurse and I am a hundred percent sure I maded the right decision. Living and working in England has been phenomenal for me and my career. International nurses coming here have to do a series of assessments, from an online exam in their home country, then a structural exam here within 12 weeks of arrival. There is also a whole programme of support, which the NHS is exceptionally good at.
I live with my son as a single parent, so my sister and her family help me with dropping off my son to school, or picking him up. Family support is really important, and I could not possibly do this job without them. They enable me to keep on nursing.
My main role is Area Nursing Manager for the community nursing service, which is integrated into a neighbourhood team. My role is to support district nursing specifically. We look after patients with acute needs, like coming home after surgery, to chronic disease management for patients who have long-term conditions. As Service Manager, I need to be able to fully understand the needs of my population, my area, and use that to ensure that the team have the right skills to be able to support those patients.
With digital patient records we can access the patient’s full notes from their home. The physiotherapist, the doctor, the occupational therapist, any mental health input, all the records are in the same place and all these different clinicians are able to see the same record. It means the care is more joined up and responsive, and it’s more personalised to the needs of that patient.
Unlike hospital nursing, which is more like a global role, community nursing doesn’t exist in the same way in other countries. So information on the community nursing role has been made available, which then has allowed NHS trusts to advertise and recruit international nurses into community roles. And that’s my job, at the moment, which is really, really exciting.
I am currently seconded into the Chief Nursing Officer for England’s team, supporting the international recruitment of nurses into community nursing settings. The direct recruitment of nurses from overseas into a community role is relatively new, and is very key to helping us achieve the NHS Long Term Plan.
I am part of the Ethnic Minorities Network, to support nurses who are newly arrived in this country. We give them an opportunity to share some of their concerns, and we identify ways to help them. We run open webinars for nurses to ask questions, share experiences, tell us what’s being done well. It brings nurses together and connects them to the things they need. It’s a very exciting part of my role.
I would like to continue learning, continue progressing and developing, and sharing what I have done. So I would like to write up and publish some of what I have done and achieved, and some of what we have achieved as a team. I would like to continue to support nurses who are developing in their career. I would like to continue providing care, as well as working with the national team, contributing to policy and changes that improve what we can do as community nurses.
It’s a very exciting time. It’s very critical to be looking after patients who don’t need to be in a hospital setting. There’s real opportunity to create care settings outside of the hospital, and community nursing is very well placed to deliver that.