District Nurse: A Day in the Life of Faye Jeffries
As seen in the Guardian Healthcare Network
Faye Jeffries works as a district nurse for a social enterprise which allows her to have more influence over how she carries out care.
“I have been a qualified district nurse for seven years, and now work as a district nurse team leader at Bristol Community Health, which is a community interest company.
Working for a social enterprise means that we continue to provide care in line with NHS policy and guidelines but we have more influence on how we carry out our care.
My day begins when the alarm goes off at 6.30am. I grab a quick shower, a cup of tea and get myself ready. The first thing I do before leaving home is log in and read any texts or emails that I may have received from staff.
If I have been allocated a patient who requires an early visit, I will see them on my way to work. We have started using Totalmobile, a mobile solution that allows me to access all patient details on my tablet, such as their address, allergies and treatment plans. I am also able to read previous notes and check whether they have been seen by out-of-hours staff.
While with the patient, I document the treatment provided during the visit which is a big relief as previously I was re-entering information into the system from paper notes.
If I do not have any early visits I get into the office for 8am before the other staff arrive at 8.30am. I fire up my computer and the phone will begin ringing as soon as I am in. The majority of calls are visit requests; usually we go on about 50 visits a day. I triage all calls deciding on their priority status then check whether I have a nurse who can fit in an extra visit.
In the afternoon I complete all my outstanding work, such as referrals, equipment ordering and liaising with GPs. Due to the nature of the job, getting a lunch break does not always happen. I encourage my staff to take a break but I do not heed my own advice and I am often guilty of eating lunch at my desk, while dealing with messages and phone calls.”
Challenges of a District Nurse
“The main challenge that I face on a daily basis is the high level of unscheduled call outs. Hospital discharges, patients becoming acutely unwell and other services reaching their capacity mean that their work is referred to district nursing to pick up. Managing these callouts is an ongoing challenge. Because the service we provide does not have a ceiling capacity level, we have to use our resources effectively to ensure patients are seen and staff skills used efficiently.
Community nursing is a varied and progressive service. My clinical skills are constantly developing and my knowledge base is forever expanding. I am due to start a part-time six-month secondment as a clinical champion for telehealth. I am really looking forward to the new challenge and enhancing my skills.
I usually finish work around 5.30pm. My free time is spent either playing netball for my team in the Avon league, attending kettlebell classes and on rare occasions I manage to catch up on my Sky Plus!
This job can be emotionally tiring and challenging at times; it is not one that you can switch off from. I usually reflect on the care I have provided that day, often questioning if I could have done anything differently. By the time I have finally relaxed the alarm has gone off and I am starting another day.”