The Role of Community Nurse Fellows
11 April 2022 | Dr Neesha Oozageer Gunowa and Kerry Bareham
Our amazing community nursing family are all trained in the core fields of nursing that include learning disability, mental health, children’s and adult nursing.
This fundamental training, along with our ongoing continued professional development and education, prepares us for the diverse roles and expansive range of expertise needed to deliver autonomous care in the community (Queen’s Nursing Institute, 2022).
The pivotal role of community nursing is now becoming increasingly recognised at national level. To reflect this, the recruitment and retention of nurses into the community is one of the Chief Nursing Officer for England, Ruth May’s, priorities (National Health Service, 2019).
We eagerly anticipate the launch of the National Community Nursing Plan in the Spring of 2022 and to support this work, 14 experienced and skilled senior community nurse leaders have been seconded as Community Nursing Fellows by NHS England and Improvement across three themes to support the co-design and delivery of this plan. These three themes came from engagement visits where three priority wishes for community nursing were collated from nurses working in the community across a number of organisations. These three wishes are being used to shape and inform the strategic vision of the National Community Nursing Plan itself.
The three themes are:
- Attractive, fulfilling and flexible careers in community nursing
- Community nursing working collaboratively to improve patient outcomes and experiences
- Community nursing gets the full profile and recognition it deserves
These themes are further split into seven ‘Action Areas’ which have each been allocated to a pair of Community Nurse Fellows to facilitate engagement with key stakeholders and develop a strategic road map for delivery. Each pair of Community Nurse Fellows have been sponsored by an NHS regional team. NHS regional teams support local systems to provide more joined up and sustainable care for patients.
The 7 Action Areas and their regional sponsors are:
Action Area 1 – South West: Deliver diverse career pathways
Action Area 2 – South East: Advance research and innovation
Action Area 3 – North West: Build capacity of Integrated care systems
Action Area 4 – North East & Yorkshire: Drive use of digital and data
Action Area 5 – London: Expand role in population health management
Action Area 6 – Midlands: Raise the profile and celebrate success
Action Area 7 – East of England: Demonstrate value and understand the economics
As part of our work in Action Area 6, our objectives are to raise the profile and celebrate success of Community Nursing so that community nurses are recognised and valued for the vital role in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan and promoting the diverse and exciting careers available to current and future nurses.
One small but important part of our work involved scoping, interestingly we have identified that not all nurses working in the community recognise themselves as ‘community nurses’. This is not helped by outdated perceptions in the media and online. As Community Nurse Fellows and Queen’s Nurses, this has been powerful learning for us, as we consider all nurses working in the community to be part of our multidisciplinary integrated team. This has caused us to consider how we might engage with members of the community nursing family who traditionally may not have considered themselves as community nurses.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute recognises that there is more than one type of community nurse and campaigns for all nurses delivering care in the community. We are keen to change the outdated narrative and engage with nurses delivering services in the community from all four fields of nursing to deliver an all-inclusive National Community Nursing Plan, which does not leave anyone out.
Nurses who work in the community can become directly involved in this work by joining the National Community Nursing Practitioners Network, where there are a wide range of resources for development and learning. Sign up or log in below:
Dr Neesha Oozageer Gunowa PhD, DN, RN, Queen’s Nurse, Community Nursing Fellow at NHS England and Improvement / Community Pathway Lead, University of Surrey
Kerry Bareham DipHE, BA (Hons), MSc, Queen’s Nurse, Community Nursing Fellow at NHS England and Improvement / Nurse Consultant at St Barnabas Lincolnshire Hospice
Main photo (top): Queen’s Nurse Sharel Cole (QNI/Kate Stanworth).