Community nurse, Danni, leaning towards a patient

Meet Danni, a newly qualified community nurse in West Devon. Read her journey so far, what she loves about her job and her advice for someone considering it as a career.

I didn’t think that a few months after I qualified there would be a global pandemic.

Coronavirus has definitely changed the way we work. For the first few weeks it was much quieter, but it soon built up again. I only qualified 9 weeks before lockdown started, so the biggest thing for me was the changes in my training. All our additional training days were cancelled, so it has been a case building skills and confidence by learning from colleagues in the job. I’m so lucky that my team is so supportive and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve been doing.

Although working during a pandemic is challenging, especially wearing full PPE, I really felt like it was what I needed to be doing. I just wanted to be out there helping people.

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I wasn’t always sure I wanted to be a nurse.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I left school. I also haven’t always been sure if I wanted to be a nurse. But, when my nan was in hospital a while ago, I was in awe of the work the nurses did and soon decided it was definitely the right path for me.

In 2009 I started working in admin in a Health Visiting Team and over the last 11 years have been encouraged to further my learning and progress. I completed a foundation degree in Health Care Practice in 2012 and started an Adult Nursing degree in 2017, which I have just completed.

In the future, I’d like to progress to a managerial role, so that I can help young people in the same situation I was, not knowing what they want to do when they leave school. I have been given so much support, encouragement and opportunities and I’d like to be able to do the same for others.

Every day is different… It’s always changing!

As a community nurse I’m allocated patients who have been discharged from hospital but need extra help and support at home. This can be people of all ages but many of my patients are older people.

At the moment I carry out about 15 visits a day to people’s homes. Every day is different, but my job can include giving injections, applying compression bandages and dressings and inserting catheters. I also carry out assessments to ensure that patients are managing well at home. Liaising with other professionals to ensure my patients receive the right support is also very important.

My favourite part of community nursing is being able to work with patients over a longer period of time and build really positive relationships with them. Sometimes you can be the only person they see in a day and it’s so rewarding to be able to help them.

There are definitely challenges involved with being a nurse. I found the training especially tough, but I think you get out what you put in, you just have to give yourself the chance. End of life care can be incredibly emotionally and physically draining as well, but I really like being able to support patients and their families when they need me the most.

When I tell people what I do, I’m so proud!

People really respect nurses and the work that we do, and I feel proud every time I put on my uniform.

I think if I had to give someone advice, I would say to give yourself the chance to do it. I talked myself out of it for a long time, but I wish I had done it ages ago! It can be tough but whatever challenges you face you learn to handle them – I really can’t imagine myself doing anything else now!

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