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Should I leave the ward?

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I am a good staff nurse on a busy surgical ward but I think some community experience would help me better understand what happens to my patients upon discharge.

You are correct in thinking that an awareness of a patient’s total healthcare experience can give you a better understanding of the holistic approach to care.

There are plenty of options. Why not write a plan after thinking through these options?

First, think of the areas of primary care from which you could benefit. This might mean the community nursing team, or support services such as home help or other social services.

Then think of the people in your hospital who could help you. There are likely to be community liaison nurses who have a great knowledge of both the hospital and community environments.

Also consider which specialist nurses could be of help. Many of them, such as Macmillan nurses, have cross-boundary responsibilities.

Another possibility would be a swap, where a community nurse changes places with you for, say, a week. Perhaps your manager and their community counterpart could arrange this.

A further option is to follow a patient through the whole experience, going back to the community with them and observing the care they receive for a few days.

Once you have explored various avenues, talk to your manager. Emphasise how you, your patients and the team would gain.

Consider what you can bring back. You could do a presentation to the team meeting about your experience, emphasising the benefits to patients. The experience should then be written up in your reflective practice log.

All this can only reflect positively on you as it demonstrates your eagerness to broaden your outlook and experience and enhance your nursing skills.

Chris Pearce, formerly a director of nursing, is a life coach with www.lifegoalspecialists.co.uk

Want to read more Dilemma? Just click the more by this author link at the top of the page.

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