It was no secret that I was dreading my community placement. I can’t even explain why.
I had a predisposed hatred of everything community-based and was convinced that the only thing my community placement was going to do was reinforce the fact that it was not for me.
My previous placements have been a community hospital and an acute elderly care ward and I had an awful notion that community nursing would be more elderly care, just in a different setting.
This would be fine, but my worry was that I would be placed on a demanding ward as a third year student and expected to undertake a great deal of responsibility having only experienced elderly care.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that the vast majority of patients are categorised as elderly, it’s just that I don’t want to go into it as a specialty.
As my mentor and I pulled up outside our first visit, she said “you never know what to expect, every visit is different”.
No truer words have ever been said.
We went in and were immediately greeted by staggeringly poor living conditions and a weeping family member who explained they were waiting for an ambulance.
The events continued, the highlight of which was me fainting - leaving one of the paramedics with the unwell patient and the other telling me off for not eating breakfast.
Needless to say, it was very different to my previous placements and all of my reservations had been completely disproven.
I loved each and every minute of my time with the community nurses.
The team were absolutely fantastic, I cannot thank them enough.
I fell in love with community nursing.
The relationships between the nurses and the patients were like none I had ever experienced.
Your communication skills and emotional intelligence are vital in gaining the rapport you need in such a trusting relationship.
Often, the roles changed from being a caring, supportive, medical-based relationship, to one resembling friendship.
Plus the community setting means that your professional judgement is greater appreciated.
Not having a ward full of doctors and other staff meant you can have more of an impact in a person’s individualised care.
But, you never feel alone.
There was always someone at the end of the phone happy to advise and assist if needed.
The government’s proposals to nurse patients in the community is a great idea, I have not witnessed higher standards of care then I have with the district nurse team.
Although I was thoroughly dreading community nursing, I have been converted in such a way that I am now considering it as my future career.
Alice Eveleigh is a 2nd year student nurse at Bournemouth University, studying Adult Nursing