An area of opportunity and career progression for all nurses.

The day to day life of a community nurse is varied and interesting. An integral part of the work is visiting patients, delivering care at home for wound-care, assessing patients for home care packages and working alongside other members of the primary care team to maintain a patient’s sense of well being and help them strive for a better quality of life.

I am fortunate to work in a progressive environment and have actively been encouraged to develop skills and expand my scope of practice. Last year, I and my colleague Fiona Stuart identified a gap in service provision for continence care and with support from primary care and our local hospital we developed a framework for clinics which empower women to self-care and offer them tools and exercises to restore pelvic floor function to its optimum. We supported this with education sessions for community nurses in CHO9 and have begun the process of integrating our service with other relevant disciplines.

Initiatives like this are continually growing and enhancing patient care. The Hospital Without Walls strategy of Beaumont is echoed throughout north Dublin in projects such as the integrated programme for male and supra-pubic catheter change programme. Also in development is a pressure sore notification system, an idea born from a collaborative course between Beaumont Hospital and CHO9 by CRGN Catriona Sears. Her idea is an innovative and user-friendly wristband to identify patients at risk of pressure sore development at first point of contact upon presentation to hospital.

The development of integrated care teams in the community has led to clinical case manager roles for nurses and I am delighted to have been recently offered a CNM2 position for the north Dublin team. As such, the workload for community nursing is dynamic and there are growing opportunities for all nurses to forge a career pathway within child health or care of the elderly. With strategies in development to broaden the scope of practice of community nursing, our response to integrated care and the development of community ANP/CNS roles, there has never been a more progressive and reformative time within the public health nursing system.

It is a new and exciting challenge one that we can all look forward to embracing.

By Sinead Grogan (CRGN), Edenmore Health Centre.