Clinical Neighbourhood Matron, Andrea Holden talks about her career in community nursing and development opportunities
“Working as a community nurse is such a rewarding role with so many opportunities for learning and career progression.”
Andrea Holden is a clinical neighbourhood matron and although she has worked in many different nursing roles since training for her nursing degree in 1995, her heart has always been in supporting local communities.
From beginning her career as a staff nurse working in hospitals in gynaecology, orthopaedics and intensive care, Andrea moved into community nursing where she fell in love with working with patients and families, and bringing care into patients’ homes.
Here, Andrea shares her career journey so far, and talks about the many development opportunities available in community nursing.
Why did you decide to move from in-hospital nursing roles to community nursing?
“The best part about working in the community as a nurse is that I get to work with patients and families directly each day, and I get to build relationships that I wouldn’t have necessarily had if my role was a hospital-based position. Especially during extremely difficult times for patients and families such as end of life care, and managing their complex health conditions. Enabling patients to be cared for in their own home is so rewarding.
I also really enjoy the variety of my job as being out visiting patient means that no two days are ever the same.”
Can you explain what your current role is?
“My current position is a Clinical Neighbourhood Matron, and I lead in providing opportunities in bringing care closer to patients’ homes. I work closely with GPs and health and social care services in my area and lead teams of community staff nurses and healthcare assistants. My team cares for patients, who often have very complex and multiple health conditions. This typically involves coaching patients to self-care, supporting and educating them and their families, helping them to manage their health needs better at home.”
How did you get to where you are today?
“After studying and completing my nursing degree, I worked as a staff nurse working in hospitals in gynaecology, orthopaedics and intensive care. I then moved into community nursing working as a community staff Nurse for many years, before I undertook the Specialist Practitioner Qualification in District Nursing where I became a district nursing sister for four years. I gained advanced clinical skills, and independent prescriber qualifications which enabled me to go onto work as a nurse practitioner in elderly medicine working in the Frailty Assessment Service and community hospitals. This allowed me to develop my clinical skills and prescribing practice and to build relationships and links with the acute hospitals, before returning to the community as a community matron. I have been in my current role as clinical neighbourhood matron for over a year”
What help is available for people passionate about professional development in community nursing?
We have a new community nurse induction program for all nurses new to the community, to act as a framework. We offer many courses and training opportunities to up-skill new nurses to the community.
“We have Band 6 development posts within the Trust which enables community staff nurses to progress into a developmental team lead role, while being supported through a preceptorship program.
We offer the specialist practitioner course to gain the district nurse qualification, and then go on to lead a team.
We offer the advanced clinical skills course and V300 independent prescribing course to experienced community nurses.
We have community matron opportunities in both district nursing teams as well as working closely with nursing and residential homes.
We work closely with palliative care, tissue viability, heart failure and other specialist services.
There are also opportunities to go into service management, teaching or clinical academic research. These opportunities illustrate why so many community nurses, including myself, see it as such a rewarding role with so many opportunities for learning and career progression.”
What advice do you have for people looking for a career in community nursing?
“There are many opportunities to grow and develop in community nursing and it’s great to know that there is always support available from colleagues and managers. If you’re someone who is passionate about helping others and who enjoys building professional relationships with patients and their families, community nursing might just be the career for you.”
Are you looking to begin a career in community nursing? For more information about the opportunities available, click here