Reflecting on a Year of Being a Community Nursing Associate
1 September 2021 | Bryony Fordham
September 2021 will mark one year of being in the community as a nursing associate.
To me, the time has flown by faster than I could imagine since my first day. Working throughout COVID has changed my perception of time, and bizarrely I’ve set up a routine in this chaotic period. Looking back to August 2020, I was unsure how this new job would look for me, coming from a mental health background working as a HCA for the past 4 years. I was keen to learn new skills, surround myself with knowledge about wound care and most importantly build my confidence by working alone.
For the first 2 weeks, I was shadowing colleagues with their visits to get to know the area and the regular patients and learn how to plan my day. After this I was released into the community and was on my own! I had mixed feelings being in the car on my first day, I had a whole list of patients to see, and I didn’t know what to expect on my own. I was hoping everything would be straight forward until I got my bearings, and it was. Everything was how I imagined it, the patients were really lovely and understanding that I was new and would be a little slower than everyone else!
I’m learning lots of new skills and feel I am making such a difference to my patients’ lives.Bryony Fordham
For the first few months, I didn’t know everyone’s key safe numbers off the top of my head and couldn’t remember how many times a week we visited each patient but eventually, it all came, and I started feeling more relaxed and found the job a dream. Gone were the nights before a shift planning my route on Google Maps, I now knew where the patients lived, multiple routes to get to them and I was also helping out colleagues when I had finished my list too. I had settled into the team nicely and had a routine of my own by 3 months in. My patients were giving me excellent feedback, with one even reporting when they went to a podiatry appointment, the podiatrist commented on how fantastic my bandages were.
When I first started my job, my anxiety wasn’t coming from the lone working or the types of ailments from the patients; it was predominantly about figuring out SystmOne. I remember looking at the laptop screen and thinking how on earth will I get my head around using this? There were so many buttons and different options, I was terrified if I made one slip of the hand or a wrong click, I would accidentally delete someone’s whole medical history. But, like settling into the role, I was able to settle into using the system and now almost a year into my job and I’m helping others to use it confidently.
Switching from a mental health nursing career to an adult nursing career was definitely one of the best decisions I have made. I’m learning lots of new skills and feel I am making such a difference to my patients’ lives. I start my BSc Adult Nursing Degree Top-up in October and am looking forward to broadening my horizons of different skills.