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Community nursing leader shadows frontline staff for day

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The chief executive of the Queens Nursing Institute has spent the day with a district nurse from Cambridge to observe the frontline challenges faced by the profession in the 21st century.

Crystal Oldman visited patients with Nicola Zolnhofer, a district nurse from Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and holder of the institute’s highly respected Queen’s Nurse title.

Ms Zolnhofer said: “I volunteered to host Crystal as I’m a Queen’s Nurse and this was a great opportunity to show her the nursing work I do in people’s homes, such as wound management, palliative care and helping patients to manage long term medical conditions.”

Speaking about her visit, Ms Oldman said: “Community nurses operate in an ever more challenging world and our role is to support them as effectively as we can.

“The aim of spending a day with Nicola was to better understand the challenges she faces as a district nurse and how we as an organisation can best support front line nurses like her,” she said.

“Nicola is a superbly skilled district nurse and it was a pleasure to spend a day with her and a privilege to meet her patients,” she added.

Ms Oldman also met the trust’s chief nurse, Mandy Renton, to talk about the role of community nursing in supporting an increasingly older population.

“What was truly striking about the excellent day with Nicola was seeing older patients supported by their adult children, who were also retired and facing their own health issues,” said Ms Oldman.

“This brings additional challenges for the district nurse in supporting the health of carers, which is so often neglected.”

The trust’s district nursing services incorporate more than 200 staff.

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