Student nurse Trudi Walker reflects on her last placement, based in the community with a district nursing team.
As a student you expect your role within the nursing scene to be challenging. I found this placement to be full of experiences that will help me to build my nursing knowledge and widen my views.
One of our patients was receiving end of life care daily from the team for two months prior to my arrival. I spent a further six weeks with this lovely lady who I built a trusting relationship with and she showed me how rewarding nursing is. I felt very privileged to able to support her on her journey which enabled her to live her life to her full capacity. The main goal was to ensure we had enough care in place so she could die in her own home surrounded by her family.
This was achieved by a large multidisciplinary team ranging from her GP to the community palliative care team. I have already had experience of good palliative care and I found this new experience to be totally different. I was able to compare the differences and similarities and felt both ensured the patient was put first.
We supported the patient with wound care, but we also supported her by listening and showing that we cared about what her needs were. I feel that this experience was very valuable for me and I was able to participate with delivering care on an individual basis that actually made a difference for the patient’s quality of life. Doing this has enabled the patient to stay in a safe familiar environment surrounded by her loved ones. Being in this situation helped us to carry out a full assessment of her spiritual, emotional and physical needs, ensuring that we concentrated on our patient and not her illness. I feel that having the patient in their own home is conductive to the clinical settings of a ward.
District nursing has shown me another side to nursing. They not only cover caring for patients in their own homes but also help to coordinate the patients care between a multidisciplinary team. As nurses we find death a hard subject to deal with but I have been shown that if we talk about death and the need of a dying patient we will normalise the taboo that society has placed upon us. As a mature student with some life experiences behind me I feel that I am now in a place where I can help and make that difference.
About the author
Trudi Walker is an adult student nurse about to begin her 3rd year of training.