I feel a bit naughty for saying that I wish to work in a different setting than a hospital.
People have been known to laugh at this statement so I’ve started keeping it to myself. I have been asked what kind of nurse doesn’t want to work in a hospital. Someone even once told me I’d be wasting my skills and knowledge in the community. Well, this kind of nurse doesn’t want to work in a hospital.
”Someone even once told me I’d be wasting my skills and knowledge in the community.”
I always wanted to work in elderly care. I love working with older adults and I’m passionate about providing excellent care, but I don’t feel I can provide the standard of care I want to in a hospital setting. It may sound cheesy but I want to make a difference. I know many nurses do provide excellent care and I am forever grateful for their dedication and skills. My community placement opened my eyes to the difference I can make out there. I can support people to stay in their own homes for as long as possible and help them in making decisions that are right for them. This isn’t an easier choice as some say – but a different choice.
Community and primary care roles require a different set of skills to those of a hospital nurse and I will never understand the opinion that I am often faced with in acute settings - that community nurses are deskilled. I’ve never felt as excited about nursing as I did while I was on this placement; I spent the majority of time with community nurses visiting people in their own homes. I enjoyed this immensely but I also spent a week with two different practice nurses.
“The nurses I met were intelligent, autonomous decision makers who had great respect from their patients.”
Practice nursing seems such an undervalued and under-advertised role. The nurses I met were intelligent, autonomous decision makers who had great respect from their patients. Their skillset was wide and their knowledge on long-term health was fantastic.
How do newly qualified nurses become practice nurses? I’m not quite sure if I’m honest. I don’t think this is uncommon either. I follow a number of practice nurses on Twitter and I’ve even spoken to a couple to gather their opinions and experiences. Can newly qualified nurses become practice nurses?
Yes, they certainly can.
It will be a steep learning curve but with dedication and support it seems to be possible. We’re facing a shortage of practice nurses and I’m sure fresh-faced enthusiastic recruits can really contribute to this highly-skilled and knowledgeable area.
”We’re facing a shortage of practice nurses and I’m sure fresh-faced enthusiastic recruits can really contribute to this highly-skilled and knowledgeable area.”
Will I become a practice nurse or a community nurse? I have no idea. They’re very different roles and both have pros and cons.
What I’m trying to suggest is that you do what you want and not what other people think you should do. Neither is right or wrong or better than the other option. Nurses in acute and community settings should be equally valued. Everyone has opinion on my career and I value people’s advice but my opinion is what counts the most.
Vicki Abrahams is Student Nursing Times’ adult branch student editor