Nurses are to work in both acute and community care settings, under a scheme to be launched by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust in London.
The trust’s older people’s rotation programme represents one way to boost the skills of nurses working in discrete settings.
It will see nurses transfer every six months between an acute medicine ward for the elderly, a specialist elderly care unit and a nurse led intermediate care facility.
While based outside the hospital, nurses will be able to accompany the community nursing team to broaden their experience.
The move comes as the London foundation trust absorbs the provider arms of Lambeth and Southwark primary care trusts.
Heidi Jensen, head of nursing at Guy’s, said the programme would mean staff could follow patients the length of the clinical pathway and get a better insight into the interface between community and hospital..
“It was quite apparent that it would be beneficial for nurses to work across the different areas,” she said. “We are going to attract staff who want their area of nursing expertise to be caring for older people.”
The scheme was put in place by the trust’s chief operating officer and nurse Eileen Sills, who spent a week with the teams at both PCT provider arms when the integration was announced.
Ms Sills said integrated schemes should assure community nurses they were in no way “poor relations”. She added they would not be called into hospitals to cover shifts or asked to perform roles for which they had not been trained.
Associate director of governance, quality and nursing at Southwark Provider Services Kate Moriarty-Bakersaid the rotation programme model could be expanded to other specialisms such as diabetes and end of life care.
She said: “The integration offers nurses the opportunity to move between acute and community nursing, varying their career and not being restricted to one setting.”