Before joining Athona’s Nursing division as a Resourcer back in May 2022, Kate Horne worked in the healthcare field from 2007-2021, qualifying as a Registered Nursing Associate in 2019. However, at the beginning of 2022 Kate decided to embark upon a new challenge and career journey and instead of practising as a nurse, now she places them!
Below we spoke to Kate to find out more about her time as a nurse, the challenges she has overcome in her career and some of her most enjoyable moments working as a community nurse.
How did your nursing career start?
I began my nursing career 12 years ago in 2010 as a Senior Specialist Rehab Assistant. Following this, I went on to the Nursing Associate Apprenticeship scheme, created for those with HCA experience, whilst also taking on a permanent role on the rehab wards which suited my skills set. In March of 2020, our rehab wards were transformed into the COVID positive patients’ wards, and after working through this difficult time in the height of the pandemic, I made the decision to have a change from the acutely unwell patients and try a new sector of nursing. An opportunity came up in May 2021 to work in Basildon ICT under the same Trust, whilst also completing the top up degree. I was there for just under a year before deciding to take a break from nursing completely.
How did you make the move to become a community nurse?
The main reason for my move into a community role was because I felt I had reached a stage in my learning and development as a nurse on the COVID wards, therefore I decided a change in role would be the best way to continue expanding my knowledge. As well as this, I wanted to experience another sector of nursing before deciding whether to complete the top up degree course. Becoming a community nurse gave me an opportunity to learn and use new skills that weren’t possible in a ward environment, such as learning how to trust my own knowledge and apply transferable skills. I went from basic wound care management on the ward, to being able to successfully complete all forms of compression bandaging, VAC & PICO dressings and learnt the wonders of honey and silver for wound management and healing.
What did you enjoy most about working as a community nurse?
I loved being part of a team, managing my own caseload and being able to work independently. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know patients in the comfort of their own homes, their families, their stories and struggles they’ve experienced. Due to potentially visiting the same patient three times a day, every day for a short medicine management, you got to know your patients really well, and they got to know you also in the process. As most of the patients were elderly and visits could last up to an hour each time, hearing about each individual patients’ lives was as enjoyable for me as it was for them reminiscing.
What are some of the benefits of working as a community nurse?
Working as a community nurse, you have access to a variety of benefits, for example:
- Independent working, whilst remaining part of a bigger team
- Being able to plan your own day as the shifts are primarily during the day
- Using and improving your clinical skills
- Supporting and educating patients to maintain their health and wellbeing
- Working with external agencies and other community support such as, hospices and charities
- Support and guidance from senior staff
What are some of the most important skills for a community nurse to have?
Some of the most important skills for a community nurse to have are compassion, patience and strong communication with patients and staff. It’s imperative to have good time management, be able to problem solve and think on your feet quickly as you never know what type of scenario you may face at each home you visit. Furthermore, you mustn’t be afraid to ask other colleagues for help, and be aware when they may need yours, as working as part of a team means that you can lean on others for support and guidance.
What are the main duties of a community nurse?
Working as a community nurse is a varied role where no two days are the same. Below are just some of the main duties community nurses have:
- Having the ability to manage a caseload, deliver care and working as part of a team
- Liaising with external agencies and GPs – including hospices and care home staff and managers
- Medicine Management – including all routes of medication administration
- Diabetes care/insulin administration, including teaching self-management
- All wound care – trauma, surgical, leg ulcers and pressure related wounds
- Pressure ulcer prevention and management
- Equipment assessment and provision
- Clinical skills e.g. catheterisation, and syringe drivers
What aspects of nursing in this specialty did you find most challenging?
To start with, I found trusting myself and my own knowledge the hardest part. This is because, you didn’t have a sister or doctor in the same area as you to confirm your thoughts or decision making, which I found quite challenging at first. I learnt very quickly that it was crucial to deliver the appropriate care and make quick decisions. I also found that I was constantly working against the clock as this is an extremely busy and fast-paced role!
There is currently a very high demand for nurses as there is no cap on community nurses’ caseload, as opposed to the cap there is on hospital beds. Therefore, if you are a community nurse looking for your next position, get in touch with our nursing team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and our committed recruitment consultants, like Kate, can get to work on finding you your next role that best suits your requirements
Interested in other nursing job roles? Make sure to few our current nursing vacancies here.